Never count out the Champ!

Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs
Five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson has done something no other NASCAR driver has done in the history of the sport – win the title five consecutive years. Yet, with that in mind, Johnson was dismissed by many this year due to his un-Jimmie-like performance.

His win at Kansas adds to his victories this season, but that's only two total wins versus six in 2010 and seven wins each in 2008 and 2009. Is Jimmie Johnson in a slump or has the competition just stepped up their game? I would never say that Johnson is in a slump; I think you have to say that the competition has caught up to Johnson and his team.

Headed into race No. 5 of the Chase, the points standings are tighter then we have ever seen. Carl Edwards leads by only one point over Kevin Harvick, while Johnson sits in third but just four points behind. Does that make it a three-way battle for the Chase at this points? As Johnson himself said during Tuesday’s media teleconference, “Well, I think it's still too early to pick a favorite, but the two guys ahead of me, Carl and Kevin, have done such an awesome job through the regular season and then in the post-season. They've been very consistent, as well. They both had races not going their way in Kansas and found a way to pull out good finishes there. So I've had a close eye on those two all year and continue to.”

Not ruling out other Chase contenders, Johnson continued, “But I still look down there at Kenseth and even Kyle Busch and a variety of guys that are still within striking distance. You know, there's a lot of racing left, and anything can happen. It's not time to focus on any one driver yet. We still need to make sure we're getting all the points we can as a team each and every week.”

For Johnson, being written off by many this year is not frustrating, but merely something he wishes people would learn from. “I just hope people understand and use me as an example and to not jump too quickly on any driver moving forward, that there's just a lot of racing left. We had a very good chance of winning the regular season if I didn't try to retaliate on Kurt Busch at Richmond it was. We would have won the regular season and gone into the post-season as No. 1, not necessarily the seeding process but in the points collection process,” Johnson said.

As the Sprint Cup Series heads to Charlotte this weekend, undoubtedly Johnson’s best track, it will be a test for the No. 48 team. Will they get back to championship form? Tune in Saturday night to see!
Never count out the Champ! Never count out the Champ! Reviewed by Unknown on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 Rating: 5