Jimmie Johnson will win his sixth NASCAR Sprint Cup in 2013 following his impressive early-season win at the Daytona 500.
Johnson, who was in the thick of the Chase with eventual winner Brad Keselowski in 2012, is driving like a man possessed. That success has immediately translated to 2013.
As a result, he has become just the 10th driver ever to win multiple Daytona 500 races, putting him in some pretty elite company.
While it may be too soon to crown a champion, it’s hard to argue that Johnson is at the top of his game and is the early favorite to add another title to his name.
He may have impressed before, winning five straight titles from 2006 to 2010, but he could be reaching his pinnacle.
Not only is Johnson driving incredibly well, but he has a team on his side that is second-to-none. Hendrick Motorsports’ credentials in the moto-industry speak for themselves, as do the credentials of Johnson’s team members.
Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. will help Johnson in his quest, but likely have aspirations of their own. Earnhardt finished in second place after his late, final-lap push challenged Johnson’s lead.
In the end, Johnson is the guy everyone is gunning for. He may have landed in third place in 2012 after faltering down the stretch in the Chase, but he’s still the man to beat this season, especially after kicking off the year with a win at the Great American Race.
Last year looked to be his year to get back on track in his quest to become the winning-est driver in the history of NASCAR. Only Richard Petty (seven) and Dale Earnhardt (seven) have won more Sprint Cup Series Championships since the inception of the award in 1949.
He has plenty of time at age 37 to catch those two, but needs a win this season in order to have a legitimate shot at breaking their record.
There is no stopping Johnson with his determination, a solid team and an excellent ability riding in his favor.