Johnson Scores Another Date With History

by Jim on July 6, 2013 · 3 comments

JJ celebrates Coke Zero 400For over a decade, Jimmie Johnson has been hooking up with history. You get the feeling the two kind of like each other. By winning the 2013 Coke Zero 400, the five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion becomes the first driver since Bobby Allison in 1982 to win both races at Daytona International Speedway.

To coin a phrase, that’s impressive right there. I don’t care who you are. It is further evidence that Jimmie Johnson is one of the greats of our generation.

High, low- you name it- nobody could do anything with the guy. Don’t take this observer’s word for it, how about another great driver of our time, Tony Stewart. “"Jimmie was just really, really good. We were just a little bit off of him” said Smoke.

When informed of his feat, Johnson was quick to pay homage to Bobby Allison, who won 84 races at the Cup level (some would argue 85, but that’s another story for another time), and won the title in 1983. “Gosh, growing up in Southern California and watching Bobby Allison … to do anything Bobby has done is pretty special." He also mentioned in victory lane remembering where he was when Bobby’s son Davey died in 1993.

Let’s face it- regardless of whether or not you like his personality, Hendrick Motorsports, or crew chief Chad Knaus, or the fact he wins all the time- Jimmie Johnson has proven himself over and over again. 64 wins, five championships (all consecutive), and numerous other feats like sweeping the Daytona races can’t be wrong. Oh well, you can’t have everybody like you. Critics said Petty had unfair advantages in terms of resources, Earnhardt wrecked everybody (and so did Waltrip) and Hendrick bought all of Jeff Gordon’s and Jimmie Johnson’s championships. Yeah, right.

The blogosphere is already blowing up over the late race incident with Johnson, Marcos Ambrose and J.J.’s teammate Kasey Kahne. The number five had the car to challenge Johnson, but the haters insist Johnson was selfish, left the closing Ambrose no place to go, and the ensuing events collected Kahne. Whether or not there was contact, by shutting the door on Ambrose, he did what any number of drivers would have done, and some say maybe Ambrose should taken out Johnson. It was racing, if I’m leading you, and you make a move on me, I am defending my position. I do it realizing I may end up like Carl Edwards did at Talladega a few years back, but I probably do it anyway. If you know me, I am not a Johnson fans (real simple, he wins too much- that’s all), but I take no issue with what happened there. It’s real unfortunate for Kahne, because he was running a heck of a race, and had a decent shot at winning it.

Whether you like him or not, there is little doubt history and Johnson have not had their last rendezvous. In 2013, it sure looks like NASCAR is Jimmie’s world, and everyone else is just living in it.

Whatever the case may be, there are some guys that just have it. Lebron James has it. Tiger Woods has it. Jimmie Johnson has it. It may not be a popular opinion, but it’s my opinion, and I’m sticking with it.

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1 Vicki Williams July 8, 2013 at 3:42 am

The only other sport I’ve ever been a huge fan of was thoroughbred racing. I gave that up when we moved to Indiana and there was no way to follow the sport. (Pre-internet, satellite, etc). NASCAR was rather a shock to me because in horse-racing, we idolized our champions. Secretariat was revered – and Affirmed and Ruffian and Barbaro. Most horse-racing enthusiasts, myself included, pray to see one more Triple Crown winner before we die. We want our special horses to win. Our heart soars when they beat the competition by lengths. We want them to retire without ever having lost.

Then I came to NASCAR to discover that we hate our champions. We boo them. We troll the NASCAR sites making hateful comments about them. We accuse them of cheating.

I found that very strange at first. I still do.

2 Jim July 8, 2013 at 5:41 am

@Vicki. I learned an interesting perspective from my old buddy Patrick Reynolds. He said he remembered people griping about Richard Petty “winning all the time.” Later- it was Earnhardt. Then it was Jeff Gordon, and to make matters worse, he was a “Yankee.” Now it’s Jimmie Johnson. In tennis, I know of fans who throw a fit every time Roger Federer and Serena Williams win. In golf, I’ll admit I love every golf tournament Tiger Woods DOESN’T win.
I guess Vicki, just take comfort in the fact, that all the vitriole against Jimmie comes largely because is he HUGELY successful. Did you also notice that Kasey Kahne never said anything ill of Johnson? Coincidence? I think not.
Sometimes I think what you see now as a NASCAR fan comes because you have been a fan in the Internet era. I think when you combine the anonymity of the web with instant info, I think it leads to a lot of savage words that would never be said in someone’s presence.

3 Vicki Williams July 8, 2013 at 6:39 am

Oh, I definitely agree about the internet. Its the same with politics. I am a big political aficionado and see so many hateful posts on Facebook. I was talking to a decades old friend about them. I rather jokingly said, “should I start preparing for the revolution?” and he said, “Vic, I’m not going to tell you our plans, you’re the enemy.”

So there you go – I spent years working the polls, have worked on the campaigns of both Dems and Republicans, have actually worked FOR Dems and Republicans but now I’m not sufficiently conservative and I’m the enemy. Go figure. That’s the internet.

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