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Earnhardt blames Johnson for wreck

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By JENNA FRYER, AP Motorsports Writer

Tue May 3, 6:02 PM

CONCORD, N.C. - Dale Earnhardt Jr. called Jimmie Johnson an ``idiot,'' and blamed the Nextel Cup series points leader for causing a 25-car accident at Talladega Superspeedway.

``If there was one idiot out there it was him,'' Earnhardt said during a break Tuesday in a test session at Lowe's Motor Speedway. ``To be honest about it, I think Jimmie Johnson caused about all the wrecks out there.''

Both Earnhardt and Johnson were at the center of the massive accident in Sunday's race at Talladega that wiped out half the field and ranked as the second-largest melee in track history.

Earnhardt was behind Mike Wallace on the front straightaway when he used his car to push Wallace ahead. The practice is called ``bump drafting'' and the drivers had been asked by NASCAR in their prerace meeting to be cautious when doing it.

But when Earnhardt used his speed to get Wallace moving faster, Wallace wiggled just a bit. Johnson drifted up the track at the same time and ran into the side of Wallace.

The contact sent Wallace careening into the wall, and 24 other cars piled up behind him.

Earlier Tuesday, Greg Biffle blamed Johnson for the six-car accident that knocked Biffle and Earnhardt out of contention in the closing laps. Johnson bounced off the wall, and when he tried to save his car by moving back down the track, the cars piled up around him.

``I hate to point fingers, but if (Johnson) hadn't been in the race, we wouldn't have had those wrecks,'' Biffle said. ``I've seen both replays and I don't care what anyone says. I like Jimmie. He's a talented driver. But he caused both wrecks.

``Bump drafting had nothing to do with it. Restrictor plates had nothing to do with it. It was orientation to where you are on the racetrack and where the other cars are.''

Johnson deflected the criticism for both accidents, saying the first was a series of events that culminated in the big wreck and the second was ``hard racing.''

``I think that our wreck on Sunday was a racing incident,'' Johnson said. ``If you took one of those components out of what took place to start that big wreck, it wouldn't have happened. It's hard racing.

``You're an inch and a half apart from one another, cars bouncing all over. They're hard to drive.''

Johnson, who leads the Nextel Cup standings by 130 points over Kurt Busch, has been criticized recently by his fellow competitors for his driving style.

Jeff Burton was angry with Johnson after Bristol, where Johnson hit him from behind and sent him into the wall. And Tony Stewart has been feuding with him on and off since Daytona, when Johnson blocked him up and down the race track in the closing laps.

Then, two weeks ago in Phoenix, Stewart said Johnson hit him to cause a spin that also wrecked Rusty Wallace.

``I don't know what he was doing,'' Stewart said after the race. ``He was running guys up and down the racetrack.''

Both Johnson and Stewart said at Talladega that everything was fine between them.

Jeff Gordon, Johnson's car owner and teammate, defended his protege Tuesday and said Johnson is upset about all the criticism.

``I talked to him and I know he's feeling really beat up over it,'' Gordon said. ``But he really feels like it wasn't his fault. To blame one person in that accident is very unfortunate because I don't think it was any one person.''

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