Sunday, November 21, 2010

Johnson Has Nothing Left to Prove ... Almost

 Jimmie Johnson hoists the Sprint Cup Championship trophy
after claiming his fifth consecutive title at Homestead Miami Speedway.
Love him or hate him, Jimmie Johnson is the man.

He can win the Cup title when he dominates the Chase.  He can win the Cup title when he's trailing.

And what he doesn't do in the clutch may be even more important than what he does do.

Namely, he doesn't beat himself.

Johnson needed to qualify well to gain maximum points.  He did - in sixth.

Johnson needed to lead a lap to get five bonus points. Yup, he did that too.

Johnson needed to run toward the front and stay out of trouble.  Did it.  All race long.

In contrast, pre-race points leader Denny Hamlin took a spin early on from which his team never fully recovered.  Kevin Harvick was caught speeding on pit road, which forced him to forfeit track position and drive through race traffic.  And neither Hamlin nor Harvick laid down a solid qualifying run which put them at a disadvantage in the first place.

But Johnson made it all look easy  - again.

And now "Easy Rider" has a fifth consecutive Sprint Cup championship to his credit and nothing left to prove - unless he wants to be considered the greatest NASCAR driver ever.

After the Ford 400, Johnson hinted that he now has his eye on besting the record seven championships won by Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty.

"I spent the majority of my career as a "C" class driver, I never experienced stuff like this," Johnson said.

"Why would I even think of those kind of goals? I don't know if it's in reach, but we are a hell of a lot closer now than when the day started. Now I'm looking at the marks that the greats have put out there and am hopeful to get up there to them.''

Five down ... and just two to go.

1 comment:

  1. Johnson is great, but I believe what Hendrick has done in keeping Knaus and crew largely in tact over 5 years is truly amazing! At some point the team will go their separate ways in search of each persons personal success. The question is when??