Say what you will about Jimmie Johnson. He’s no Tony Stewart in the personality category, his crew chief may be slicker than Smokey Yunick, and he is undoubtedly climbing climbing into the best equipment in NASCAR week in and week out, offering him a clear advantage. Whatever you do, just make sure you call him a winner- something Johnson does on an incredibly consistent basis.
In every full time season he’s run- dating back to 2002- Johnson has won multiple races every year. In his rookie season he won three races (reminiscent of Tony Stewart just three years behind hime), and his lowest victory count came in 2011, when the southern Californian won “only” two.
Johnson’s win Sunday gives him 65 for his career, eclipsing the victory totals of such luminaries as Junior Johnson, Rusty Wallace, Ned Jarrett, Tony Stewart, Mark Martin, and Lee Petty. There’s only one active driver with more wins (Jeff Gordon with 87), and seven all time. With 11 more victories, the 38-year old will catch the late, great Dale Earnhardt. If were a betting man, I’d wager that Johnson winds up number three behind Richard Petty at 200, and David Pearson at 105.
You’ll notice all these impressive stats come without even mentioning his five championships. Only the “The King” and “The Intimidator” have more with seven. Complain all you want about the format. If you want, you can complain about all the many advantages Petty enjoyed being ahead of his time, Earnhardt is a harder one to argue against, because he won all of his in an era where the NASCAR competition may have been at its best. On the other hand, Johnson has won his against Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, Mark Martin and there are yet others that may be worthy of being in the conversation that we won’t get into today.
You can’t get around it, there are just days when Jimmie Johnson flat out dominates. Sunday’s race was another one of those days. get used to it, there will be more before it’s all said and done.