I know it’s entirely possible for NASCAR to “arrange” a finish for a stock car race. In fact, almost every sport on the planet can be fixed in some way so an outcome can be determined. When listening to fan discussions regarding Jimmie Johnson’s success in this sport, the big “C” word tends to surface with some regularity. The NASCAR All-Star race on Saturday night didn’t disappoint.
Let’s put all of the facts together here. Jimmie Johnson drives the Hendrick Motorsports Lowes Chevrolet, at Lowes Motor Speedway, a track by the way, he has dominated throughout his career….there must be some kind of fix going on here…..Right? I will be the first one to say, I wouldn’t put it past NASCAR to help out someone if it led to more interest in the sport. But do I think they’re helping Jimmie Johnson out…naaa?
Let’s take a minute and look at this thing a little closer. If NASCAR wanted to help someone out, why not their favorite son. Same team, different driver. Wouldn’t it make more sense to spend your conspiracy efforts to help Dale Earnhardt Jr? After all, he is NASCAR’s most popular driver, most beloved by fans, and has only one win over the past three years. Why not help him out so we can make more fans happy instead of helping out JJ, and pissing all of them off. That just doesn’t make any sense.
In every generation, and every sport, people come along that are just special. As a golf fan, it was Tiger Woods who came on the scene in 1996, and has dominated the sport for over a decade. What makes Tiger Woods unbeatable on the golf course is his dedication to perfection. He has a ton of talent, and he continues to be great because he is willing to put in the work that keeps him at the highest level of his sport.
To get a peek at the future, all we need to do is look at the past. Have we forgotten the boo’s and beer cans that hit the race track at Talladega when Jeff Gordon exceeded Dale Earnhardt’s win totals? When Jeff Gordon was winning big every year, there were grumblings about conspiracies.
Like Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson works for the best organization in racing at HMS. He has the best crew chief in NASCAR in Chad Knaus, in his early years, Gordon had Ray Evernham, and again like Gordon, Jimmie Johnson has a ton of talent. So why aren’t we able to just give credit, where credit is due? Why must there be a conspiracy here? Why can’t we just recognize true talent and enjoy it when it comes along?
Since Jimmie Johnson came to Sprint Cup for three races in 2001, and finished 52nd in points, and has never finished out of the top ten at the end of any year since. Johnson has won five Cup championships, and it could well have been more by now. In 2005 he was a determined Kurt Busch away from a sixth title, and last year, a blown engine away from a seventh.
Chad Knaus went to Homestead in 2012 with a game plan that would beat Brad Keselowski on that Sunday afternoon, and had they not blown up, Jimmie Johnson could well have picked up number six. The Lowes Chevrolet Team is willing to put in the work in order to be great.
Instead of pointing to conspiracies, race fans should take some time to enjoy what they have been chosen to see. The greatness, the talent, and luck doesn’t last forever. As we all know, it can ebb away slowly over time, or especially in this sport, can end in a heartbeat.
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