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The infamous Golden Horseshoe that Kevin Harvick swore Jimmie Johnson had, umm, tucked securely somewhere with his team, has been confiscated this season.
Johnson and the No. 48 team, the reigning Sprint Cup champions, have yet to win a race this year. And that’s just not, well, normal. Six-Time is currently seventh in the point standings and boasts only three top-five finishes this season. By most standards, those stats are not a cause for concern, but this is Superman, and he’s accustomed to flying just a little bit higher.
Despite his lack of wins, Johnson maintains the third highest driver rating among his counterparts with a 103.2. Only Jeff Gordon, the current points leader, and Joey Logano, a two-time winner this season, have higher ratings.
What’s most disconcerting to legions of Johnson’s fans, however, is the recent rules change that all but guarantees that a race winner will qualify for the season-ending Chase. Wanna guess which driver is the only one to have qualified for the Chase every year since its inception? Yep. Johnson. Should he fail to win a regular-season race, Johnson fans may find themselves, for the first time since 2003, cheering for someone other than the No. 48 for the final 10 weeks of the season.
So when might Johnson visit Victory Lane for the first time this season and put his fans’ anxieties to rest? It could happen any time.
NASCAR makes its first of two stops at Kansas Speedway this weekend, a track where Johnson has two victories. Then it’s on to the All-Star Break, where even though no points are earned, fans could again see Johnson hoisting the big check at the night’s end, a feat he’s accomplished four times.
Following the break, drivers get to spend a little more time at home since the next points race is also at Charlotte Motor Speedway, a track that Johnson once dubbed “his house,” and where he’s won an astounding seven races.
Johnson also has wins at Dover and Pocono, the next two tracks on the schedule as NASCAR heads into the summer stretch. Of the upcoming venues, only Michigan has been tricky for the champion as it’s one of a mere five tracks still on Johnson’s bucket list. The others include Kentucky, Watkins-Glen, Chicago and Homestead.
Johnson never claimed to have a golden horseshoe. He’s a driver who relies more on skill and teamwork than good fortune, but Johnson’s fans are ready for a little luck to go his way this season. Now, where’s that rabbit’s foot?