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Flat Spot On: 6-Time, The Intimidator and The King

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Monday, November 18 2013

Jimmie Johnson has become the point man in The Big Debate as a result of collecting his sixth Sprint Cup championship. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Brian Lawdermilk)

HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Top Ten “Tweets” from Homestead-Miami Speedway’s NASCAR championship finale.

1. Let the battle begin in earnest – if Jimmie Johnson gets one more title and wins a seventh championship does that mean he’s the equal of Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt? (His status as one of the all-time greats is the only thing secure in this debate.)

2. On Saturday, did NASCAR officials choose not to drop a needed red flag in the closing laps of the Nationwide race to avoid a conflict with the Alabama game scheduled next on ESPN? (Not endorsing this peculiar decision, but worse than Donovan McNabb’s “Jimmie Johnson’s not an athlete” mumbo jumbo would have been a major outbreak of anti-NASCAR invective from Alabama fans anxious to see the game against Mississippi State.)

3. NASCAR used to have feuds, now it has flaps. (Flaps disappear overnight, feuds sustain some seriously passionate rivalries.)

4. Some nabob asked Rick Hendrick why he doesn’t like his team, which has now won 11 championships, being compared to the New York Yankees. (When was the last time, besides never, did anybody who grew up on a farm in Virginia want to be identified with Yankees?)

5. Goodyear is being asked to perform another miracle with its tires – and imitate Pirelli in F1 – despite the fact the Sprint Cup cars weigh twice as much as an F1 chassis. (The consensus is that if tires have more “give up” on intermediate tracks during a stint, there will be more overtaking and lead changes.)

6. While Kyle Busch is directing the 60-plus employees of Kyle Busch Motorsports en route to the team owner’s championship in the Camping World Truck Series, what is Jimmie Johnson doing? (Probably working on winning yet another Sprint Cup championship.)

7. Hard luck Sam Hornish Jr., with no ride next year despite almost winning the Nationwide title captured by Austin Dillon, appears to be the latest Indy car driver to not make a successful transition to the Sprint Cup. (One suspects Hornish turned down an opportunity to replace retiring Dario Franchitti on Chip Ganassi’s Indy car team next year because he prefers ovals to road racing.)

8. Whatever happened to those comparisons of the old “Latford” points system versus the current Chase system? (You know – “if the season ended now” but 11 years ago…)

9. Races at Homestead present a unique visual of speed during in-car camera shots thanks to the patterns dancing on the wall. (The marine green wall at Homestead gets an abstract of black rubber smudge marks during the witching hour at sunset when drivers in the high groove are flying semi-blind.)

10. So long to Mark Martin, who is riding off into the sunset again after driving his cars on the edge for 40 years. (Until, maybe, a front-line team needs a pinch driver, at which time it will be nice to see NASCAR’s little iron man working that steering wheel so close to the chest.

11. (Bonus) Kenny Schrader vows the Ford EcoBoost 400 was his last Cup event. (But will definitely continue racing more than 70 short track events a year.)

12. (Bonus) It was good to see a full house at Homestead-Miami Speedway, which seats 55,000, for Sunday’s finale. (If Daytona is subtracting 40,000 seats during “Daytona Rising,” don’t look for Homestead to add new seats any time soon.)

12. (Championship Bonus) “About the only thing I see that might (lose) it would be one of these sink holes they have down here.” (Prior to the race, only “The King,” Richard Petty, could put this colorful forecast to Jimmie Johnson’s chances of clinching a sixth championship.)

– Jonathan Ingram can be reached at jonathan@jingrambooks.com

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Monday, November 18 2013


  • Hendricks Check Cleared says:

    The chase is a total joke.

    The fact is NASCAR has always favored Chevrolet and always will. I doubt NASCAR cares if Ford and Toyota packed up and left leaving only Chevy from 2014 forward.

    Did anyone else notice that it was Chevrolet who was last to reveal their car far later than anyone else, Dodge had revealed theirs, Ford and Toyota had revealed their cars but Chevy was dragging their feet. No why is that? Maybe so NASCAR could study what the other three had done and report it to their favored brand Chevrolet?

    As for the chase, Petty and Earnhardt had to earn points over the entire season not a 10 race sprint. Jimmy has many years he won the Chase where he did not score the most points for the full season.

    Hell when it comes down to it, David Person was far better than Jimmy Johnson will ever be because David Person only ran for the championship 4 times in his career and won the championship 3 times out of those 4 years.

    I don’t see where Ford and Toyota find any value in NASCAR to stay. Dodge sure saw the light and said enough and left. I still don’t know why Toyota even got involved in the first place, they build no cars that remotely resemble a performance car. As for Ford they must just be totally stupid because all the years they worked hard to beat Chevrolet only to have Chevy cry and NASCAR to make a rules change that wiped out all the hard work Ford or even Dodge did so that NASCAR’s favored brand Chevrolet could rule the roost again just makes you wonder if Ford is suffering from the beaten wife syndrome.

    Anyone else remember back to the year that Ford took the first 5 positions in the Daytona 500 and Chevy had a hissy fit along with their drivers and car owners?

    Rules changes came swiftly after that race until Chevrolet was winning again.

    When have you seen NASCAR make rules changes for other makes when Chevrolet dominates the top 10 in a race? NEVER.

    I have walked away from this bogus NASCAR, I did not watch any of the chase races and only watched maybe 50 laps total of the other races this year. NASCAR has run me off a life time race fan.

    This should be an eye opener for everyone, Autoweek magazine is still showing stories about Formula One today November 19, 2014 but not one single story shows up on their web page when you open it. That is how far NASCAR has fallen.

    The sad thing is I do not even miss NASCAR they have run it so far into the ground.

    • Jonathan Ingram says:

      Handle of “Hendricks Check Cleared” more accurately would be “Sorry Ass Denial of Current Reality.” And no, we haven’t missed this “story.” You’re the only one who knows its there. (See “Monster Carlo” for another time Chevy has done a better job than Ford of introducing a new car.)

      A lot of energy was put into letting us know about this conspiracy for one who doesn’t follow the sport any more.

      Thanks for caring, even though you say you don’t.

      Must admit, liked the comment about Pearson versus Jimmie. Had to review the record books for that one. Percentage question is an interesting angle.

  • Tim K says:

    Not until he wins titles under different crew chiefs and owners like THE MAN did. Jimmie IS a great driver though.

    • John Sturbin says:

      FYI Hendrick Hater: It’s JIMMIE Johnson and David PEARSON. If you’re going to rant about these guys amid your vast conspiracy theories, at least spell their names correctly.
      So, how’s your Pinto Squire running?