The Tiger Woods Of NASCAR

by Jim on July 30, 2013 · 12 comments

Jimmie JohnsonIt’s impossible to deny, but hard to admit. Yours truly doesn’t root for Goliath. New York Yankees? Every season they miss the World Series is a good season. Back when the 49ers used to dominate in the NFL, hanging out in southern Oregon sports bars wasn’t much fun. The Miami Heat? I don’t root for them. It’s also feels unseemly to admit, but the recent struggles of Tiger Woods have made watching golf far more enjoyable.

In that same of line of thought, it’s difficult for this NASCAR fan to admit that five time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion appears well on his way to becoming “Six Pack Jimmie”- and it’s not a reference to his abs. Jimmie, crew chief Chad Knaus and the ‘48’ team seem to have it all: wins, consistency, and the ability to get good results in bad races. It’s kind of like Tiger Woods at a golf tournament. How many times have we witnessed stiff competition, only to watch Woods turn up the wick on Sunday to steal the show.

Not only are Johnson and Woods similar in that they are winners with a penchant for dominance, they also seem similar in temperament. Intense on the field of competition, they possess a laid back persona off of it that suggests blandness. My fellow fan Mad Mikie has a moniker he uses for Johnson from Mike’s military days to describe someone with no personality. I won’t use the term here, we’ll just say it is a nickname derived from a busted bathroom appliance. I’m not sure he’s quite THAT bad, but there’s no denying Johnson isn’t the most fiery character on the circuit.

With that being said, the El Cajon, California boy of blue collar extract is different from Woods in one refreshing way: you’ll never see him caught in some salacious scandal of infidelity a la Tiger. I’m sure Chandi and Genevieve are quite glad of it too. It seems the former model from Oklahoma is nearly always at his side with little one in tow.

I have to give the man props. There’s been more than one racer that’s thrown his crew under the bus and after running them over, back over them. Johnson took the high road with the “win as a team, lose as a team” mantra. He fessed up to costing his team a good finish or two. I don’t need to name names, but that kind of class doesn’t grow on trees in racing.

This dominance will all end someday. Just ask Richard Petty, Darrell Waltrip or even Jeff Gordon, who simply just isn’t on the same par with where he was when he gave his teammate a run for his money in 2007. Still, you have to wonder how records he will re-write before the curtain falls. With 64 wins, he sits 8th on the all-time wins list. Next up to pass is the revered seven-time champ Dale Earnhardt at 76. If I was a betting man, I bet he gets there. Seven championships? That’s another story. Petty was ahead of his time and dominated his way through a long peak of performance. For a shorter period, Earnhardt had the bull by the horns. In that era, the Intimidator had the likes of Waltrip, Wallace, Allison, Kulwicki, Martin and later, Gordon to push him.

In this day and age, Johnson has his work cut out for him in terms of the competition. Tony Stewart is a pure racer, Kyle Busch has yet to hit his apex yet (and he’ll be scary when he does), not to mention a whole host of other championship caliber competitors- Kenseth, Keselowski, Harvick, and the list goes on.

You can say what you will about the Chase, Chad Knaus, Hendrick Motorsports, but its not Knaus or Hendrick who drive the cars. I am fully convinced they could undo the Chase today, and Jimmie Johnson would find another way to get there.

That’s what winners do. Jimmie Johnson just wins races.

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1 Vicki Williams July 31, 2013 at 3:03 am

You have to wonder how happy all the Jimmie/Chase haters (“he’s only got 1 LEGITIMATE win”, like he and Chad wouldn’t have raced differently in a different format) would be right now if there was no Chase to reset the points. Jimmie has such a massive lead, barring catastrophe, it would be almost impossible to beat him.

Always before (when it was Kevin Harvick, for instance) Sirius callers were calling in en masse to say that the leader at the end of the regular season deserved a reward. Funny, I’m not hearing that now.

There were lots of stories last year about how exciting and refreshing it would be to have a young, non-conformist champion. Wow, look how cool it is to see him tipsy in Victory Lane! Wow, look how cool it is to see him peeing in the corner of the tent! That’s what NASCAR needs, a champion who is young and sassy!

Maybe its because I’m old but all in all, I’ll take Jimmie, who represents the sport with class.

2 Eric July 31, 2013 at 5:21 am

There is no denying that Jimmie Johnson is a one of NASCAR’s greats, however Brad K was right. Every single week Jimmie has a top-3 if not race winning car. Johnson had one career Busch series win in over 90 starts in a decent car.

I’d love to see JJ in a decent car in cup like the #99 and take Chad the cheater out of the equation and see how he would do, and yes he has to prove himself because he has accomplished next to nothing outside of the #48 Lowe’s Chevy.

3 sgt schultz July 31, 2013 at 6:19 am

Tiger of today is just another loser on the PGA Tour. You did not watch his performance in The Open or you would not compare anyone to him, maybe Tony Stewart whose outbursts of late remind me of Tiger’s outbursts of cussing during The Open.

4 BrianFitz(brainpup) July 31, 2013 at 7:05 am

WOW Jim I can’t really believe you even compared Jimmie Johnson to Tiger Woods…..what a freakin insult.
Sure Tiger can “whack a ball” around better than a lot of people on the circuit, but for Gods Sake man it’s Golf …. thats something you do when you retire…( yeah sure I know they get paid a ton when they win ) but Golf isn’t even a Sport….its a “Game”…you know like basketball and football and tennis, Volleyball, etc, etc…its played with a Ball !!!

Anybody in the world can play a “Game”…but only a select few with REAL Talent can win driving a Race Car… I played football, basketball, tennis, racquetball, I won a few trophies in tennis and racquetball and even played a little golf when I was younger, ( I never was Championship material in any of the “Games” I played in but I had fun doing it ( my Golfing was mostly putt putt but I have played a few “Rounds” ..oh and what’s up with that ?….”lets go play a “round of Golf”… WTF… a “round” that like when Tiger plays a ’round with other women ???
Truthfully it sounds gay to me….”yo, eh Bob, lets go play a round”…sure kNeall … or even sexist when you hear a couple of guys talking ” hey watch me whack my “drive-her” and then use my “Put-her” so I can get my “Balls” in the hole where that grass grows….oh dammmmit I got a “wedgy” … to get out of this sand……lol…” commentator speaking ” well folks, it looks like Tiger whacked his ball pretty deep in the “bush” with his “wood” that time”…(note the names of the females involved have been withheld until the Tabloid’s come out with the pictures)
Pathetic excuse of a person. He should have been banned from the “Game” of Golf and public exposure along with his buddy O.J.
Jimmie Johnson is ten times the “Man” and “Champion” that Tiger Woods will ever be…their not even in the same league.

just sayin’
( and no I’m not a JJ fan, I pull for Kasey Kahne and I use to be a Bill Elliott fan and David Pearson fan before that )

5 Vicki Williams July 31, 2013 at 8:29 am

And, Eric, that’s probably one reason Jimmie is a winner. He focuses like a laser beam on his main job…which is trying to win the Cup championship. And if you took all the crew chiefs off the box who have been alleged to have cheated, you’d only have about 3 losers left….and that goes back to the beginning of NASCAR.

6 Jim July 31, 2013 at 8:35 am

@Vicki- No question in my mind that JJ has class, & would be a better guy to have over for a BBQ than some may think.
@Eric- It does make you wonder, and yet if we have learned anything from Kurt Busch this year, it’s that a top flight driver can take a decent car & run much better than a journeyman in the same ride.
@Sgt. Schultz- That was a lousy tournament for Woods, but let’s not forget the overall body of work. I also wouldn’t be too quick to shovel dirt on the guy just yet.
@Brian- On the humanity score, Jimmie does indeed seem to be a far better man than Woods. Heck, I said that. I’m no golf fan either, and yet I submit it is one of the most difficult “games” to master. One thing for sure, when we have one of the those “Is NASCAR a sport?” debates, I’ll be counting on you to have my back.

7 BrianFitz(brainpup) July 31, 2013 at 9:26 am

No problem there Jim, NASCAR IS a sport, its even a Team Sport !! heck you got a whole “Team” of guys on Pit Road helping you Win, plus a lot of drivers even have other “Team”-mates out on the track. All of them ( well maybe not Needacheck and that guy Shepard that lost his flock) have a boat load of guys( and some women) back at the shop helping them prepare for the Races each week. They have practice routinely, they have team meetings, they get fouls called on them and get penalized. Heck they even have “Drafting” just like in Football….
and I would bet a thousand bucks to your dime that as far as NASCAR drivers being athletics are concerned I’ll beat ya every time….do you think somebody like A-Rod or Kobe Bryant or Aaron Rogers or Tiger Woods would last 4 or 5 hours in a 140° car during a race going 200mph with 42 other cars side by side with you ?? Sure it takes a lot of talent and skill to do what some of them do in other “Sports” but in NASCAR you have to do it all. The concentration level alone is off the scale… well some drivers levels are questionable…….lol
…Half Time ? 7th inning stretch ? WTF ? you mean we get to get out of the cars and go into the locker rooms and change clothes ? a quick shower ? take a wiz or a dump ? NOT in Racing baby…
Talk athletic endurance…
….and then you’ve got the intensity of what your doing and the mental fatigue that if gets too bad, there’s a wall (or other cars or both) waiting for you to slam into at 200mph.
and there’s always the strategy involved, 2 tires or 4 or gas and go, or do I lay back and wait till near the end of the race to make my move so I can save my car or avoid a “Big One” (ala Daytona & Dega) or do I try and stay out front and be in front of the midpack wreck fest ?
Jim, I’ve personally race dirt bikes, superbikes, gocarts and a short season of late model cars at New Smyrna Beach in Florida and I’ll tell you from personal experience, Racing anything at high speed with a bunch of other drivers/riders in close proximity is about as intense as it gets. Heck just going thru all of the practice and qualifying will drain you of energy unless your in dam good shape…and don’t be sick (cold or flu) or you’ll need a replacement driver because your body can’t hang that long in that heat at that intensity level.
NASCAR ? a Sport ? one of the most intense one
Drivers ? Athletes ? some of the best in the World

8 Jim July 31, 2013 at 12:45 pm

@Brian. I’ll tell you what, I did some racing down at one of the local go kart tracks last night, and I thought my arms would fall off. Everything you’re saying is absolutely true. I question the intelligence of any “fan” who says racing is not a sport. If it isn’t, then racing has plenty of company.

9 BrianFitz(brainpup) July 31, 2013 at 6:32 pm

Hahaha, I bet it hurts even worst the next day or two too Jim…but yeah truethat man…Racin’ a lot tougher than people think.
Last weekend before the Indy Race (Saturday evening after Qualifying) me and 4 of my “Race Buddy’s” went out to Concord Mills Mall and drove Go-carts at the 4 different tracks that they have there and on Monday (2 days later) 2 guys laid out of work, (said they were too sore) the other 2 that are painters said they could hardly push their rollers up the walls at work and personally I had a tough time holding on to the handle bars of my motorcycle going to work…
Now we did race 6 times at 2 of the tracks (the bigger faster ones, well the carts went about 45mph…my 4 time winning one went maybe 50 ) and then once at each of the smaller ones…our totally time behind the wheel was less than 2 hours…
Even today I can still feel the soreness in my forearms and wrist…butts kinda sore too.
So multiply everything by 4 for NASCAR drivers… so what we did was light weight…

“Folks”, “Fans” or “naysayers” that talk about NASCAR drivers not being athletes are full of horse dung. I say let them come walk a weekend in their shoes…
Truthfully the ones that I hear say that crap about NASCAR not being a Sport or that Drivers aren’t athletes have never been to a Race in their lives and probably have never Raced even a Go-cart for any length of time much less drove a 3400 lb. car at 200 mph for 4 or 5 hours and endure 140° temps…
Heck it’s an athletic event just to endure a 5 day event watching a Race from the infield at Charlotte for the Coca Cola 600 week in the heat during May’s Races….lol
I actually clocked 32 miles in walking distance this last May’s Race at Charlotte according to the little pedometer I had on (don’t ask me why… ok it was a bet (I did win it thou)…well, I staggered a few dozen miles probably !!!


10 Jim July 31, 2013 at 6:44 pm

@Brian. Exactly. When a “noob” friend of mine went to a race with me and another diehard race buddy of ours to the local dirt track, it was a revelation for him. we won a convert. Why? Because he actually went to a race, instead of listening to some blowhard’s attempt at comedy.

11 BrianFitz(brainpup) July 31, 2013 at 6:56 pm

a blowhard’s attempt at comedy…too funny

Yeah I know where your coming from…
if ya haven’t done it , how do you know anything about it ?
but I swear you see it all the time…
Last October I took a friend of mine to the Charlotte Race, The Bank of America 500, ( we actually sat in the stands, a 1st for me in an eon, cause I’m usually in the infield up on Redneck Hill, have the shirt to prove it, or on a high up platform down in Turn 1) but he was so stoked he actually bought my tickets for the 600 in May and wants to go back in October.
He’s a Tony Stewart Fan now ( thats OK I reckon) he has actually bought a shirt and a bumper sticker… so yeah he’s a convert too.
Now he comes over every Race weekend to my house to watch the races, but before he use to say, ” how can you just sit there and watch them go round and round ?” but now he says, ” I’ll bet ya Tony’s gonna beat Kahne”…he brings beer too… lol

12 BrianFitz(brainpup) July 31, 2013 at 6:57 pm

Hey Jim I wish I could post some pictures I’ve got, on your site.
any idea how ?

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