The desert has always been kind to Jimmie Johnson. Perhaps it's the arid climate, or the constant sunshine just reminds him of home, but the five-time champion kills it in Phoenix.
The 2012 version of the Kobalt Tools 500 should be no different.
Johnson has won in Arizona on four separate occasions and has never failed to finish a race. Aside from his wins, his consistency is the most impressive facet of his success. In 15 of his 18 starts, he has placed in the top 10 and 12 of those were top-five finishes.
There is little to indicate that Johnson won't continue to set the desert on fire. He has won in each of the last two weeks, giving him plenty of momentum in a place where his confidence is already sky high.
Take last week.
Johnson set the pace in qualifying, led the most laps throughout the race and ultimately took the checkered flag. The points earned from that win put him in first place and in line to bring home another championship. Not bad for a weekend's worth of work.
Is Johnson good for the sport?
Few drivers can handle the pressure like Johnson. When you win five titles in six years, any criticisms about grace under pressure go out the window.
With the finish line of the Chase so close, Johnson is locked in on continuing his incredible streaks, both the two-race and seven-year versions.
Johnson may love winning, but the NASCAR world hates him. No driver has been as reviled as Johnson. His success takes away from the drama of the sport. Why watch when you know who will win?
He might not be able to clinch the title in Phoenix, but he'll take a rather large step toward another notch on his belt. And happily take the heat from the fans so long as it means another championship.