Johnson, Mears go toe-to-toe -- on the golf course

5/4/2007 - NASCAR

RICHMOND, Va. -- The lap-125 incident between Jimmie Johnson and Hendrick Motorsports teammate Casey Mears last weekend at Talladega Superspeedway didn't keep them from playing a friendly round of golf.

Johnson accidentally tapped Mears and sent him spinning as Mears attempted to pit. Mears, who finished 39th and fell to 35th in points, initially was upset because he thought both cars were coming down pit road at the same time.

On Wednesday, they were paired with golf professional Darren Clarke in the Pro-Am at the PGA Tour event in Charlotte, N.C.

"I absolutely had a blast, but I can't tell you I've ever been more nervous in my life," Johnson said. "I got to the first tee box and luckily they called Casey first. He goes up and his first ball goes 5 feet. His second goes 10.

"I'm like, 'I know I can do better than that.' That's all I really care about, is to beat Casey, and mine went 30 feet."

Johnson said he and Casey have talked about the accident and are working to make sure it doesn't happen again, focusing on communication from the pit box to the spotters.

"He was a great sport, a great teammate, but at the end of the day it was a situation we should have been able to avoid and they lost a lot of crucial points that they need," Johnson said.

HANS update
NASCAR wasn't concerned that the Head and Neck System worn by Kyle Busch cracked during a crash in the Busch Series race last weekend at Talladega.

Jeff Burton isn't taking it lightly.

"It concerns me without a doubt," he said. "We need to know we can depend on all of our safety devices. Being cracked and failing is two different things. If it failed, that's a major problem. I don't think it failed."

NASCAR officials, who sent the device to the manufacturer as a precaution, said the restraint indeed did its job.

"If it was cracked, that's something the manufacturer has to look at and try to make it better," Burton said.

It is what it is
Jamie McMurray said he won't appeal the $25,000 fine he received for swerving at Kevin Harvick during the white-flag lap last weekend even though he believes he did nothing wrong.

Harvick bumped McMurray believing McMurray caused the final crash involving David Gilliland and Tony Stewart. McMurray, who was pushed into Stewart by Gilliland, said the swerve came when he put his arm out of the window to ask Harvick why he bumped him.

Series director John Darby told McMurray he would not have been penalized had he not swerved and "what's done is done."

"So I just kind of agree to accept that," McMurray said.

David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at dnewtonespn@aol.com.