Six-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson has set a bar that is quite high when it comes to winning and success. As a result of this Johnson tends to face harsh critique when he doesn’t live up to the bar that he has set, regardless of whether that critique is fair or not. Johnson having not won a race thus far in 2014 has had some critics place him under a microscope.
2014 is 10 races old and as stated above; Johnson is still without a win. For the majority of drivers this would not be an issue but Johnson is not the majority of drivers. Johnson’s winless drought 10 races into the season is the third such longest drought of his career. During his rookie season in 2002 Johnson won his first race of the season on the 10th race of that year. In 2012 Johnson didn’t win his first race until the 11th race of the season and in 2003 he didn’t win his first race until the 12th race of the season.
If Johnson doesn’t win one of next two races he will be mired in the longest winless start of his NASCAR career.
So what does all of this mean? Well in the grand scheme of things not too much. Johnson could not win until race 26 of the year and still make the chase and potentially win his seventh NASCAR championship. What this does mean though is that Johnson simply hasn’t gotten off to the starts that he has in the previous years in which he won his six championships.
In the above mentioned seasons where he did not win early, he also did not win championships those years. In 2002 he finished 5th in the standings, in 2012 he finished 3rd in the standings and in 2003 he finished 2nd in the standings. If the trend is that Johnson not winning early correlates to him not winning championships than there might be more to this.
Ultimately we will just have to see how the season plays out for him. I cannot imagine a scenario where the No. 48 car doesn’t win a race and contend for a championship but I guess anything is possible.