Jimmie Johnson started 3rd on Sunday in the Pepsi 400 at Auto Club speedway. He led 126 laps, and won for the 5th time this season and the 45th time in his career taking away the points lead from Mark Martin. While there is plenty of racing to go and he has whole bunch of experience 2nd thru 6th behind him (Martin, Montoya, Stewart, Gordon and Kurt Busch), the 48 appears to be faster than ever and could just equal 4th championship.
I myself seeing that this could happen, decided to turnoff my TV, play video games, then turn it back out for the last few laps hoping someone else would win, only to my dismay that it was Johnson taking the win.
If Jimmie Johnson does indeed do a 4 in a row it will be historic. But what is the point of watching NASCAR then?
Since 2006 the 48 has won 27 races (10 of which came during the chase) and the last 3 championships. If the way the 48 is keeps going, then he will perhaps win every single championship until the day that Chad Kanus decides to retire and take a manger role at Hendrick motorsports.
The last 3 seasons NASCAR fans that are non Johnson fans have had to sit and watch the same thing all over again. It is sad that Indycar are more competitive than NASCAR (the last 4 seasons in the IRL 3 different teams have won the championship)
Sure the Johnson fans love it and want it to continue but Jimmie Johnson fans of course do not represent the majority of NASCAR fans.
NASCAR has had declining ratings and I hate to say it but it is not because of the start times, not because of the long prerace shows, it is because of the the 48 team's success making the sport unbelievably unpredictable
It is clear at certain tracks the 48 has an advantage. Auto Club, Martinsvillie, Dover you name it (perhaps the advantage is clearly or coming damn close but that is another story for another day)
Can they be beat?
Mark Martin has won a championship in every series he has raced in fulltime except 1, and that is the cup series.
Juan Pablo Montoya may be new to this but he is a world class driver.
Both Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon are multiple champions and Kurt Busch won the original chase infact beating Johnson by 8 points.
NASCAR wanted parody so they brought out the COT. It appears as if this is what gave the 48 the edge. As they were not near as dominant in the older car.
For other teams to be on equal footing, NASCAR must expand the car a bit, do something for teams so they can work on the car more and find the handling they need to win.
If Jimmie Johnson does somehow win a 4th straight championship I will have to ask myself: "Why even watch NASCAR." Sad day when a driver can turn you off of the sport that you love.