Jimmie Johnson has been one of the most dominating drivers so far this season in NASCAR. It shouldn’t be a surprise to see Johnson running well, especially after having a solid season last year.
Still, with the new technology in place this year and teams struggling to find the right groove for the season, how has Johnson been able to be so dominant during the first half of the season?
Johnson is one of the best drivers in the sport, but it takes more than just great driving ability to be able to do what he’s done so far. Everything in an organization and a team needs to click, and in Johnson’s case, the 48 team has been on top of their game.
From his momentum carried over from last season to the work from team behind him—and even the new Gen-6 technology—Johnson has everything he needs to set him up for early domination.
The 2012 Season
Jimmie Johnson didn’t win the championship last season, and he even struggled for a couple races toward the end of the year, but 2012 was a big improvement over his 2011 year.
And even though Brad Keselowski won the championship, throughout his battle with Johnson, Keselowski was continuously looked at as the underdog.
Johnson was dominant in the Chase and seemed like he was ready to grab his sixth title until he ran into trouble during the Phoenix race late in the season.
Even though he failed to win his sixth championship, Johnson is carrying over momentum from his 2012 season and showing NASCAR fans that even though he failed, he can move on and return to championship form.
The new car NASCAR has debuted this season has been paying off for smaller teams, as drivers like David Ragan can now compete with the bigger drivers when put in the right situation.
The Gen-6, though, has also benefited the bigger teams of NASCAR. Joe Gibbs Racing, for example, has seen Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth run extremely well this season.
It’s not just JGR, though, that has seen improvement thanks to the Gen-6. Jimmie Johnson has been able to run well this year, partly due to the new technology and how well Hendrick Motorsports has been able to adapt to the Gen-6. While Jeff Gordon and Dale Jr. haven’t won a race yet, Johnson and Kasey Kahne both managed to pull off wins this season.
Putting wins aside, though, Johnson has been a competitor in almost every single race so far.
Certain drivers who ran well last year have struggled with the transition to the Gen-6, but Johnson has been able to take advantage of the new technology, and it’s a key part of his performance during the first half of the season.
He went on to dominate when NASCAR introduced the Car of Tomorrow by winning five titles. The Gen-6 car could set him up to win a couple more.
The Team Behind the Driver
While new technology has benefited Jimmie Johnson, the biggest reason for his early dominance lies in the 48 team.
From his pit crew to the guys in the garage, everyone behind the 48 team has played a role in Johnson’s dominance.
He’s had a solid car each week, and with near-flawless pit stops, it shouldn’t surprise anyone to see Johnson out in the front during the majority of races this season.
Chad Knaus plays a major role in Johnson’s success as well, as he and Jimmie make one of the best pairs in NASCAR, thanks to their ability to communicate and understand each other.
Whatever changes Johnson needs to the car during a race, Knaus usually gets them done.
Johnson wouldn’t be as good as he is without the amazing 48 team behind him.
One of the Best
Even though the 48 team is a huge reason for Johnson’s success so far this year, there’s no denying that Johnson is one of NASCAR’s best drivers.
It seems like every time NASCAR goes to a different track, Johnson is always one of the favorites to win.
His driving ability alone is a major reason for his dominance, and he’s already proven how good of a driver he is this season.
Not only can he run well on almost any track in the Sprint Cup Series, but he managed to open the 2013 season with a big win at Daytona, making a statement that the five-time champion is still a major threat to anyone seeking the Sprint Cup title.
With his driving ability, the Hendrick technology and the 48 team behind him, it’s really no surprise to see Jimmie Johnson dominate the first half of the 2013 NASCAR season.