NASCAR fans and media fall for it every single season. Jimmie Johnson has a run where he is isn’t winning as much as we think he should, the ‘Jimmie has lost it’ or ‘the field has finally caught up with Johnson’ stories start. We fall for it every single time. And then the 48 team does something like win three of four races, including Sunday in Michigan, serving it up, just to remind everyone they still have it.
“Well, this is a great win for a lot of reasons,” said car owner Rick Hendrick. “One for here in Michigan for Chevrolet, and being a Chevrolet dealer and racing Chevrolets, this means a lot to win this race. It's good to see Jimmie after leading so many laps here close the deal because we've run out of gas, broke motors, blown tires. I think I remember a couple times coming off of 4 and losing it. For him to be able to finish it off today, it was really good.”
Oh yeah and that. Johnson marked one more track of his list of places he won. There are now just three tracks left on that list.
“The success that we've had as a team, kind of hitting our stride and getting to victory lane three times in the last four weeks, our teammates and their success, the company, and you look at our engines in our cars and what they're able to do,” said Johnson. “Rick gives us all the tools to go out there and do our jobs and to have everything so fast and so good, you want it to last forever. We know that it won't, but it's just a good time to sit back and reflect and enjoy it.”
The win is also number 69 in Johnson’s career, that is eighth all time He probably won’t reach the 200 wins of Richard Petty, but David Pearson is second at 105 and Jeff Gordon third at 89 and counting. Johnson is just 38 years old. If he races just 10 more year and wins just three races a year, which he has every year he’s races full-time in NASCAR except 2011, Johnson would get to 99 wins. Is there any reason to believe that if he keeps racing he won’t catch Pearson?
“We've lost championships together. And certainly we've had success,” said Johnson. “But 69 wins and six championships out of 13 years of racing is a pretty small percentage. Some of the losses you have are -- you got what you could that day and you went on, but a lot of those losses in there sting, and I think experience through those moments make us stronger and better.”
That…that drive…that yeah we’ve been good, but still not good enough, we still lose some. That mentality is why the 48 team is still the best, because they are not satisfied. It’s is what drives all the greats. Its truly incredible to watch.
“The expectation is for us to go out there and perform on a weekly basis as the best team out there, and that's my expectation, and it's the expectation of all the fans and especially all you media guys because if we falter for two weeks we're washed up and we're all getting fired and everything is going crazy,” said crew chief Chad Knaus. “So if we don't do that, that's the only way to keep you guys quiet.”
I’m definitely not falling into that trap again. Even if they don’t win the championship this season I’m not falling for it. Because I think they have proved that the 48 is still the team to beat every year, every race.