After their run in down in Texas, Jimmie Johnson and teammate Jeff Gordon spent the week leading up to Talladega fending off spectulation that a feud was brewing in the Hendrick Motorsports shop.
After Talladega, there seems to be no doubt that there is.
Johnson entered 'Dega 108 points ahead of second place Matt Kenseth and two wins already in the books for the 2010 season. Rain cancelled qualifying, putting Johnson on the pole for the Aaron's 499.
Luck, it seemed, was on Double J's side. Karma, it would prove, was certainly not.
Johnson led just nine laps on the day, but in doing so collected those all important five bonus points. He spent most of the day running in the midst of the front pack, but made little noise otherwise.
It didn't stay that way long, though.
Five laps from the finish, Gordon and Johnson made contact after the No. 48 went to jump in line ahead of his teammate. The No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet would eventually fall back into the field, get caught up in a wreck, and ended his day 22nd.
And, if any consolation to Gordon, Johnson got his, too.
On lap 196, in one of the "Overdrive" green-white-checkers, Johnson and Biffle got together sending the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet into the inside wall. He would finish 31st.
"The 48 is testing my patience, I can tell you that. It takes a lot to make me mad-- and I am pissed right now," Gordon said after the race. Johnson would later take the blame for the incident.
Gordon last went to Victory Lane last season in the spring Texas race. Johnson has won ten races since then. And after this latest incident, will the tension continue to rise between the top two HMS drivers?
While he keeps the points lead, Harvick's win now has him within 26 points of the defending champion, and his points lead may be in even more trouble. With a field seemingly deteremined to take four time down and a pissed off teammate, Johnson and company enter Richmond International Raceway, where tempers are sure to be short.
Thanks to NASCAR on FOX, SPEED, Racing Reference, LA Times and the Associated Press for the information, quotes and statistics used in this piece.