Wanna Bet? Johnson Will Do It Again
Jimmie Johnson only has one race win this year.
He is in 10th place in the Sprint Cup standings, 29 points behind Tony Stewart, who has a two-race winning streak with only eight races remaining.
Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus were overheard exchanging the not-so-friendlies over the radio last week at New Hampshire.
So there is no way in heck that Johnson is winning championship number six this year, right?
Who wants to bet?
I’ll give you the field and I’ll take Johnson to win it all this year.
If I have learned anything over the last five years (and that is debatable) it’s that you never count Johnson out. Ever.
In 2006, Johnson was in eighth place after the first two races. He was seventh after five races. Three races later, he grabbed the points lead that he wouldn’t relinquish.
He made the move with a win at Martinsville and announced with authority that he was taking control. He won the championship.
In 2007, Johnson was 68 points back of Jeff Gordon after five races. He won the championship.
In 2008, Johnson kicked the crap out of everybody so this comparison is not apt.
In 2009, Johnson again kicked the crap out of everyone.
In 2010, Johnson stayed around the top of the standings and scraped by Denny Hamlin by virtue of a second-place finish in the final race of the season.
And the reason that took so long is that Johnson has won five consecutive championships. How can you bet against a guy who has won five straight championships?
Johnson has had his two bad races. I know the points are different this year than they have been and 29 points is big under the current configuration, but I don’t think he will have any more bad races this season.
“We need eight great ones from here,” Johnson told the Associated Press. “We can’t run 10th anymore. We need a bunch of Ws.”
Johnson is optimistic about his chances.
“My optimism is still high,” Johnson said. “These first two races did not start as we had hoped that they would, but eight to go, there’s still a lot that can happen. Past experience really helps with the mental side of it going into the next event and for my guys.”
Johnson has 26 wins on the eight tracks remaining on the 2011 Sprint Cup schedule. Homestead is the only track at which he hasn’t won.
He may be down after the first two Chase races, but I don’t think I like anyone else’s odds.
Contact Andy Cagle at email@example.com.
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