Cup Stuff Blog

Ruminating All Things NASCAR

Another Record-Setting Year For Jimmie Johnson

Posted by Keith Murray on September 15, 2009

Even with three consecutive Cup Championships, Jimmie Johnson does not get the respect he is due. This weeks a NASCAR.com poll asked which driver had the nest chance to win the Cup of those that had multiple wins. Of the five choices, Johnson came in 4th in the voting. He was even behind Kasey Kahne in the voting.  That was a poll that people voted on out of emotion and wishes and not out of logic. I know that it is because most people despise him, but you cannot take away his accomplishments. And now he sits alone in the record books in an impressive category – the only driver to be in every Chase since its inception.

When Matt Kenseth failed to make the Chase field in Richmond last week, it set Johnson as the lone driver with that distinction. One would think that at this level and only six seasons into the Chase format, there would be three or four of the ‘top-tier’ drivers occupying that category with Johnson, but that is not the case. And it is yet another indication of just how strong that team is.

Johnson and crew chief, Chad Knaus, now have the longest driver/crew chief relationship in NASCAR. They have been together since they both moved up to Cup with a newly-formed 48 team in 2002. That first year together they finished 5th in the standings and followed that with finishes of second, second, and fifth before winning it three years in a row. Johnson has never finished worse than 5th in the standings.

Most NASCAR fans know these facts already and hate them. But love him or hate him, you can’t take away what he has done on the track. Regardless of what happens from this point forward, he will go down in history as one of the all-time greats of the sport.

As I wrote earlier this year, I was amazed at how many of the so-called experts were picking someone other than Johnson to win it all this year. One of their top choices – Kyle Busch – did not even make the Chase. The 48 team has remained mostly intact and has continued to overcome obstacles this year enroute to the record as the only team to make all the Chase fields. These last ten tracks are some of Johnson’s best on the circuit, and unless they stumble along the way, the Chase is his to lose again this year. Like I said in that earlier article, someone is going to have to pull a Jimmie Johnson to dethrone Johnson this year.

Regardless of whether he can pull off the unbelievable feat of four consecutive titles, it is still quite the accomplishment and a testimony of the resilience of that team to maintain the consistency that they have over the last seven years. And I believe that after the checkered flag falls at Homestead, Johnson will occupy another category all his own – that of winning four consecutive Cup titles.

Please remember to pray for our servicemen and women fighting around the world for us to have the right to enjoy our sport and the other many freedoms we enjoy. God bless you and thanks for reading.

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