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NASCAR at Richmond Notebook: Mark Martin Acknowledges Aggressive Racing, Denny Hamlin Motivated By White House Visit

Mark Martin Responds To Regan Smith Incident

Following Tuesday's rain-delayed race in Atlanta, Regan Smith was upset with Mark Martin after he got into the back of the Smith's car, sending it hard into the inside wall. 

Smith's Twitter comments can be seen below:

@Regan_Smith_: Wow I just now saw the replay, I was wondering if it was intentional at the time... Now there's no doubt in my mind

@Regan_Smith_: A driver as talented as mark doesn't just take a right turn going in a straight line

@Regan_Smith_: We had contact on a restart 10 laps prior, racing deal each continued on no harm no foul... The wreck following was no racing deal

@Regan_Smith_: He came across my nose on a restart and I was on the brakes trying to not wreck both of us, which almost happened

When asked about Smith's criticism and view of the incident, Martin offered very little and simply said, "We had an accident." 

Pressed further, Martin pointed to double-file restarts and closer competition as causing drivers to push the limits even further and become more aggressive. 

"Part of that requires less sportsmanship, more me," he said. "I don't run into people and people aren't going to get away with running into me."

Denny Hamlin Using White House Visit As Motivation

President Barack Obama welcomed 2010 champion Jimmie Johnson to the White House on Wednesday afternoon, speaking highly of him and his team. In the background stood Denny Hamlin, the driver that came oh-so-close to beating Johnson for the title. 

Had he sealed the deal in Homestead, he would have been the driver walking out with Obama, while the rest of the competitors looked on. 

Hamlin admitted seeing Johnson honored in the White House rekindled thoughts of what could have been, but said it was motivation to beat him this season.

"It bothers you at times, but you know you're going to have to relive it because you have a full year of tributes to our champion," Hamlin said. "Respectfully to Jimmie, he earned and deserves it. I'm not going to take anything away from him."

Clint Bowyer Takes Blame For Wreck With Juan Pablo Montoya

After a wreck with Juan Pablo Montoya in Atlanta ruined Clint Bowyer's realistic chances at making the 2011 Chase, Bowyer emerged frustrated and upset, calling Montoya a "jackass" and an "idiot."

Bowyer accepted blame for the incident on Thursday at Richmond and said he was simply caught up in the frustration when making the comments.

Montoya said he knew once Bowyer saw the replay he would understand what caused the incident. 

"It's just one of those racing deals," he said. "You understand people's frustration. I'm good either way."

AJ Allmendinger: Greg Erwin Brings Experience To No. 43 Team

Over the last few weeks AJ Allmendinger and the No. 43 team have emerged as a possible Chase contender, sitting 13th in points and eligible for a Chase wild card spot. Part of the improvement for the Richard Petty Motorsports team has been the addition of crew chief Greg Erwin. 

Erwin joined the team six races ago and since then the team has climbed from 17th in points thanks to four finishes of 12th or better.

Complimenting former crew chief Mike Shiplett on keeping the team organized and well prepared, Allmendinger said the biggest thing Erwin brings to the table is race winning experience. 

Allmendinger admitted he was nervous about how the crew would react to the addition of Erwin after being so close with Shiplett, but said things have been going really well.