Friday, January 29, 2010
Jimmie Johnson made history in 2009 by claiming his fourth-consecutive Sprint Cup. If that's not enough, he's a favorite to win a fifth in 2010, and fellow competitors still seem to be scratching their heads and trying to figure out how to stop it.
According to Brad Keselowski, who is embarking on his first full season of Sprint Cup racing, the only way to stop the No. 48 is for them to do it themselves. Drawing on his experience of running part-time in a Hendrick Motorsports Sprint Cup entry in 2009 and seeing how the No. 48 team operates first-hand during that time, Keselowski said recently that the only people who can beat the No. 48 team is the No. 48 team.
"I think they are the only ones that can beat themselves," he said. "To beat the 48, they have to beat themselves. It will be interesting to see how that develops over time, you know, with Chad and Jimmie and how their relationship evolves, how they grow. Things change."
Fellow driver Elliott Sadler did mention during his press conference at the Sound & Speed event in Nashville earlier this month that maybe there are a few teams in the NASCAR garage that could possibly have something for the No. 48. Who? The other Hendrick Motorsports teams.
"I think the teams that can beat them right now are their teammates," Sadler said. "They finished in the top three in points. They definitely have their stuff together right now."
That's not to say that the rest of the field has given up. Meanwhile, as teams work feverishly trying to catch Johnson and No. 48 team, drivers acknowledge that it's cool to watch this historic period in NASCAR and to witness it up-close and personal.
"It's awesome to be able to be able to race with somebody like that, be on the same racetrack when history is being made," Kyle Busch said. "Unfortunately, one of us would like to beat him and actually have a chance to win a Sprint Cup Series title ourselves."
Photo of Jimmie Johnson courtesy of NASCAR Media
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