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NASCAR'S Johnson denies wrongdoing in Chase controversy

Photo: David Hahn/Icon SMI/IconSMI

Jimmie Johnson's mishap brought out a caution at Richmond during the controversial race.

CONCORD, N.C. — Five-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson has denied any wrongdoing in the controversial Chase-deciding race at Richmond International Raceway Saturday.

Johnson defended himself one day after Clint Bowyer alleged that his race-altering spin at Richmond was no different than when a Johnson mishap brought out a caution earlier in the race.

Johnson pitted on lap 223 of the race with a battery problem and took his car to the garage. He returned to the race but finished 40th.

Johnson, speaking at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Wednesday, said, "Clint brought it up from what I've been able to see and read. I think he was just having a bad day. And as things kept piling on, he just tried to suck someone else into the mix with him."

Bowyer's spin aided the Chase chances of Michael Waltrip Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr., although NASCAR on Monday penalized Bowyer and the organization and replaced Truex in the 12-driver field with Ryan Newman.

Bowyer spun with seven laps remaining in the race after a curious radio transmission in which his crew chief told him, "Is your arm starting to hurt? I bet it's hot in there. Itch it."

Bowyer denied spinning intentionally to help Truex.

Johnson teammate Jeff Gordon also was racing for a spot in the Chase. He also was affected by the Bowyer spin, missing the Chase by one point.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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