Tuesday, 09 August 2022

NASCAR VIEW: Don't appoint Jimmie Johnson the Sprint Cup champion quite yet

Posted On Thursday, 05 March 2015 00:00 Written by
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Jimmie Johnson tends to promote extreme reactions.

You either love him or you hate him. And it's usually a case of really, really loving him or really, really hating him.
That's what happens when you are a whirlwind success in Cup and threaten the titles records of Earnhardt and Petty. There are few fans without a strong opinion.

Last year was Jimmie Johnson's worst ever in the Cup series. He finished 11th in the point standings, unheard of for Mr. Six-Time.

He wasn't terrible, just had a lot of bad luck and didn't have setups as good some weeks as competitors like Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick -- who ended up the champion in 2014.

2015 is a different story for Jimmie. He ran strong at Atlanta, and was able to top Harvick in that race and claim a victory, essentially claiming a spot in the Chase.

"Jimmie's back!" was the cry from his fans. "He'll be 'Seven-Time' come November"

Hold your horses peoples.

Because of the extreme reactions people have to Jimmie, there's a tendency to exaggerate. In this case, his backers are going to use one win to say that he is on a torrid pace and will be even better by the fall and win the title.

But that would be oversimplifying things.

This year a lot of drivers have run strong. It's arguable that Harvick was better at Atlanta for most of the race. Going forward I expect Harvick and a couple other goes to either equal or outpace Jimmie on a weekly basis.

Will we win races? Yes -- likely a handful or so this year, and he may win some in the Chase too.

Is he the favorite to be the champ at this point? No.

Logano and Harvick have impressed me more so far this year, and we'll see who else steps up in the coming weeks. Hell, Martin Truex Jr. might end up with a better year than Jimmie the way he has started strong.

Not likely, but who knows? Just like we don't know Jimmie will be the champ.

See my point now?

Let's let the season play out, then we'll see what happens in the Chase. But don't get too excited about Jimmie, or anyone, being the assumed champion come November. As we saw last fall, you never know until the last lap, so we're getting a bit ahead of ourselves.

Matt Myftiu can be reached on Twitter @MattMyftiu. Follow AutoTechReviews on Twitter @AutoTechReview. Follow the AutoTechReviews Facebook page at facebook.com/AutoTechReviews

Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

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