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Is Jimmie Johnson the Greatest NASCAR Driver Ever?
That is the question many NASCAR fans and as well as sports analyst are beginning to ask! Jimmie Johnson and his crew chief Chad Knaus have masterminded an empire in the racing world and an ever-growing legacy.
Jimmie started his championship wins by coming out running in the Cup Series in 2005, and then achieving his first Championship in 2006. He followed up his win in 2006 a trifecta Cup Series win s making it four championships in a row. Jimmie’s achievements were so incredible he made winning look almost “robotic” at times. With Jimmie winning so much it made the sport less entertaining which some believe lead to the decline in NASCAR TV ratings.
When Jimmie didn’t win in 2011 (his worst season) or in 2012, some NASCAR fans found it fun to watch the underdogs trying to beat him for the top prize. Last year he finished in second place behind Brad Keslowski just six laps short of the championship. Regardless of how bad a season he was having, Jimmie was always in the running for the championship and he was never far from the top of the boards. Johnson always gave it his all and always managed to finish in the top 10 even in the years he wasn’t crowned champion.
With each year’s loss, he got a hunger to get back on top and to regain domination in the sport. He set about achieving his goal of becoming the best in the sport again by winning six races and getting 23 top 10’s before going into Homestead. Johnson was once again getting close to that domination he needed to be the king of racing.
Johnson’s crew chief Chad Knause has worked with many fantastic drivers throughout his career, but the combination of him and Johnson have propelled Johnson into the slot of the best driver that ever sat in the race car!! Chad admits that he doesn’t know how Jimmie would have faired against Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt Sr., but he does believe as others do that it was their time when those two legends were racing; and now it’s Jimmie’s time.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. was quoted as saying, “Well, I’m biased, so he ranks 2nd, (1st was his father) but if Jimmie keeps tracking at this pace he is on, he makes a better argument for himself.” Junior was likely voicing the same thoughts about his legendary father that I am sure many fans were thinking. Junior also said that he is surprised by comparisons between Jimmie Johnson and Dale Sr. gathering steam now because of Jimmie’s 6th win. Dale Jr. said Johnson does deserve to be known as one of the greatest the sport has ever seen.
Matt Kenseth said before the final that he believed people should have been putting Jimmie Johnson in the conversation of all-time great racers as far back as three years ago. No one has ever won five championships in a row. Especially in this day and age with the new rules in place to even out the field and the numerous amount competitive teams. I personally believe he was one of the greatest before this sixth and I will say it again!!
So with all that being said the answer to the important question is yes, Jimmie Johnson is the greatest driver of all time and here’s why.
He is easily the most dominant driver in the sport. None of the current NASCAR drivers are even within 30 wins of Jimmie’s current total.
In the modern era of racing it is more difficult than ever to make it into the Cup Series. The reason is because of the driver pool and the number of cars with the margin to win. Furthermore, the cars are closer than ever manufacturing wise with their speed and set up; with all the new restrictions it is far more difficult to get a competitive advantage with your vehicle.
Johnson’s business like approach to racing and the manner in which he strives for perfection can make it hard for the average fan to relate to him; but he makes no apologies for the qualities that make him great.
His focus, his intense training regimen, and his incredible work are what make him one of the greatest drivers the sport has ever seen. Of course none of this means the fans will finally embrace or start loving him for the driver he is, but it is a lot of fun to watch underdogs go out and try to beat him every race.
Whatever the future holds, it is hard not to recognize what is in front of our eyes. Jimmie Johnson is quickly becoming the best ever and it is happening here and now. Jimmie Johnson is best there’s ever been and he is nowhere near finished adding to his ever-growing legacy!! For this all time great, the sky is the limit!!!