Anyone But The 48

Posted on March 22, 2010

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Jimmie Johnson checked the concrete coliseum off his to-do list yesterday. Bristol has always been a track he has struggled with, but in true championship fashion, he and his team grabbed their third win of the 2010 season. I should mention that he has grabbed those three wins over a series of only five races. That’s right, NASCAR has waved the checkered flag only five times for this season, and Jimmie Johnson has raced under it three of those times.

“When we’re winning at tracks that we’re not supposed to, boys better look out,” Johnson warned after the race. “Even that 2 car that doesn’t want the 48 to win.”

Jimmie, I don’t think it’s only the 2 car that doesn’t want you to win; I don’t think anyone wants you to win at this point. Well, as far as fellow competitors go that is. It has to be annoying as hell for athletes when there is one person utterly dominating the entire field of competitors. Especially when there is nothing they can do about it, but continue to compete, and continue to fall just below the line. All the while, you Jimmy, continue to seemingly win at will.

The usual reality of NASCAR, is that drivers have good seasons, and they have bad seasons. Sometimes, they don’t necessarily have bad seasons either; just everyone else is having a good one. The level of competition in NASCAR racing is so close, that it is nigh impossible for someone to be as consistent as Jimmie has been over the past four and even five seasons. It is absolutely ludicrous. “It’s a reality for everybody but Jimmie. They’ve somehow been able to stay on top,” says Carl Edwards. He could not have really said it better.

This win marks his 50th win in his short career, and makes him the fourth fastest in NASCAR history to reach that mark, with only 296 starts. Jeff Gordon was the fastest to reach that mark, with only 232 race starts. I wasn’t around when Jeff Gordon made his ludicrous leap to stardom, but I know one thing, there were many things said similar to what everyone in the garage says about Jimmie Johnson today. The same things were said about the legendary Dale Earnhardt. In fact, there is only one difference to what most people said at the start and finish of a race. Anyone but the 24. Anyone but the 3. Anyone but the 48. To be a part of that sentence is what all racecar drivers dream of, and Jimmie Johnson has brought it back to this sport. And oh, how they hate him for it. It is not only that they wish it were their car number ending that sentence, but that its Jimmie Johnson’s number. He came into this sport, and has yet to have one of those bad seasons. Since his first full season schedule, he has never finished below fourth place at the season’s end. He has been on top for eight years straight, and for the past four, he has won it all.

What would it take for someone to take Jimmie Johnson down this season? What would it take to keep Jimmie Johnson from winning five straight championships? Greg Biffle answers that question, “I don’t know, find him in a dark alley? We’re all just trying so hard.”

I hope it doesn’t come down to that, but something has to change. The fans are growing tired of watching the race week after week, and watching the 48-car climb out of his car with another top place finish, or even worse, another win.  I myself am included in that group. It is boring. In the words of everyone who is not a fan of NASCAR racing, “What’s so fun about watching a bunch of cars drive around a circle for a few hours?” Nothing when you already know how the races will end.

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Posted in: Sports