Johnson-Knaus conversation the talk of NASCAR

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MARTINSVILLE, Va. (AP) -- Jimmie Johnson says it's "crazy" to suggest his reputation has been tarnished after crew chief Chad Knaus' instructions to mess up the rear bumper if he won at Talladega last week.

Knaus was recorded telling the five-time champion that if he won, he needed to "crack the back of the car," apparently to build in an explanation in case the car did not past post-race inspection. The website SBnation.com says it obtained the recording from a fan.

Johnson says Knaus' instruction was "foolish." He says other competitors know how hard his team has worked to win five consecutive championships, and that his car is the most scrutinized by NASCAR. He also says Knaus has never made such a suggestion to him before.

The Sprint Cup Series races at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday.