Jimmie freakin’ Johnson wins the title … AGAIN
It’s old, kind of a been-there-done-that kind of thing, and I would love to have a new topic … But the facts are the facts.
And while his competitors did everything they could to NOT win the title, Jimmie got toward the front and stayed there all day; The end; case closed … he freakin' did it AGAIN.
There was a lot of hype built around Sunday’s finale at Homestead, with Jimmie trailing Denny Hamlin by just 15 points entering the race , but I can say with complete confidence that the race more than lived up to the hype.
My heart was at a very high beats-per-minute level for several hours Sunday, more than it has been for any race I can remember in recent memory. It wasn’t quite as awesome as the legendary 1992 Hooters 500, when Alan Kulwicki won by just 10 points over Bill Elliott, but it was still a thrill ride – one that will be talked about for a long time.
The three-way battle royale, which also featured a feisty Kevin Harvick, had everything you can imagine. Harvick played cat and mouse with Kyle Busch all day, and ended up booting Busch into the wall eventually, later saying of Busch: “He raced me like a clown all day.”
Denny was on the move, then drove into Greg Biffle and spun, then moved up, then was stuck, then was back to the points lead, then missed a pit stop and got stuck back in the pack. No trash talk after this one, as he came up short. He’ll be back to fight for it again next year, but he missed a golden opportunity to knock out the champ.
The points were always in flux, but for most of the day one name was out front: Jimmie Johnson; And at the end of the day, he was there again.
Harvick’s day was ultimately ruined by a speeding penalty on pit road, which he insists didn’t happen. And as much I’d love for him to be right, NASCAR is not out to get him. The computers aren’t going to lie about him speeding … they have no agenda.
No, what happened Sunday was pretty simple: Jimmie Johnson didn’t screw up, and his competition did. You can call it experience working in his favor, or just bad luck for the other guys. But however you say it, Johnson is the champ.
How does NASCAR Nation feel after this 5th straight Johnson title? I asked that question on Twitter after the race, and the response was varied. Some people were very excited (the Johnson fans), others were unhappy but respected Jimmie’s accomplishment; and others were just turned off. Look around online and you see a lot of people saying they’re going to tune out next year, as they’re sick of Johnson winning.
Whether they actually do tune out is another matter, but NASCAR better hope they don’t. Ratings were down all year, and attendance is down at tracks. If that trend continues, it’s not good for the sport.
The ironic thing is that the racing on track this year was among the best I’ve seen in my 14 years watching the sport. If they decided whether to watch based on race action, there should be more fans watching in this “have at it, boys” era.
But people don’t think like that. They see Johnson winning every year, figure the thing is fixed and don’t even bother to tune in. That’s not accurate, and he’s outrun the competition fair and square, but it’s kind of like when the Yankees win several World Series in a row. People get bored and tune out.
If Hamlin or Harvick had capitalized on this chance and taken the title, it could have been very good for the sport … a shot of new blood.
But they didn’t do that … and you have to give Johnson his due: He’s earned more points than everyone else for the past five years, and there is nothing wrong with that.
They’ll get another shot next year, but until then we’ll continue writing about how Jimmie Johnson has won yet again, and everyone else is just a contender.
No matter how much we may want to write something different, the fact is it’s still Jimmie’s world.
Hendrick domination continues
Once again, it really sucks for everyone who’s not driving for Rick Hendrick.
In the 16 years since 1994 … Hendrick has claimed 10 titles – 5 with Jimmie, 4 with Jeff Gordon and 1 with Terry Labonte. He’s allowed others to win it 6 times … 3 for Joe Gibbs, 2 for Jack Roush and 1 for Robert Yates. That is a ridiculous record, and no matter what the competition throws at them, Hendrick always seems to come out on top.
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