NASCAR Notes: Like It Or Not, Jimmie Johnson Is Really That Good
BY DAVE GRAYSON
When it comes to five time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson there doesn’t seem to be any middle ground. Either you want to become the next president of his fan club or you cringe at the very mention of his name.
However, even this driver’s harshest critics cannot deny the incredible states the 37 year old Johnson has compiled during his career thus far. For a Sprint Cup driver to win just one championship during the course of a career is more than ample grounds for professional pride. Johnson winning five consecutive championships is a feat that may never be repeated.
On the night of July 6th, Johnson celebrated with his Hendrick Motorsports team after winning the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona. The driver’s performance in this event was flawless as was the car and the pit crew.
Johnson added some new numbers to his ever growing career stats during the Daytona weekend:
.He scored his fourth win of the season, his 12th top ten finish of the year and his third win at Daytona.
.Johnson scored his 64th career win in 417 starts. He has won approximately 15% of the NASCAR races that he has entered.
.In 23 previous starts at Daytona, Johnson has led a total of 74 laps. During the 2013 Coke Zero 400 he led a race high 94 of the 161 laps.
.He became only the fifth driver to sweep the Daytona 500 and the Daytona July event in the same season. The last time a driver swept both Daytonaraces in the same year was NASCAR Hall Of Fame member Bobby Allison who performed the feat 31 years ago back in 1982. Johnson’s 2013 sweep puts him some very elite company. In addition to Allison, the Daytona sweep list includes Fireball Roberts-1962, Cale Yarborough-1968 and Lee RoyYarbrough in 1969.
.It’s been pointed out by many in recent years that restrictor plate racing isn’t exactly one of Johnson’s strong suites. However, in 2013, Johnson has won both Daytona races and finished fifth at the most recent event at Talladega. Apparently, he now has the restrictor plate process figured out.
It’s also apparent that Johnson, and his #48 team, are extremely focused on winning his next championship this year. Many of the Las Vegas based sports book agencies have already gone on record as saying that we will be changing Johnson’s name from “Jimmie Five Time” to “Jimmie Six Pack” at the end of this season.