Jimmie Johnson responded Wednesday to the audio clip of Chad Knaus telling him to intentionally damage his car in the event of a Talladega win, agreeing with Knaus' version of events while on ESPN2's NASCAR Now program.
Here's what Johnson told host Nicole Briscoe:
"When we're on those restrictor-plate tracks and have the bump-drafting, with all that takes place with the pushing and the bumper collisions, we're afraid of the tolerances following the race when it's over – when you win the race and go to inspection.
"If you have significant damage back there from the bumping and the contact, you're fine and NASCAR knows that's happened within the window of racing. You come back with the car moved around and you're outside of where the tolerances are, you've got an issue. So Chad was just making sure that I was aware of that.
"That car passed inspection after qualifying, been through inspection quite a few times. So it's not like we have an issue. NASCAR hasn't come to us and said, 'Your car is illegal.' We've not done anything wrong in that sense.
"What you did hear was Chad saying, 'Make sure we have some bumper damage just in case we win the race and go on to post-race inspection."