Why Praise Jimmie When It Is Chad

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Why Praise Jimmie When It Is Chad
Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images

Jimmie Johnson currently leads the points standings by 184 points over Mark Martin with 3 races to go going to tracks where his lowest average finish is a 13.6 at Homestead a place where he just needed to crusie as he has been always in control of his own destiny entering that race.

Since becoming a rookie in 2002 Jimmie Johnson has won 46 races, 115 top fives, 178 top tens, 22 poles and 3 straight championships.  His lowest points finish is 5th which happened in his rookie year in 2002 and 2005. 

He has led a total of 9,415 laps which is 3rd behind Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon.  His career average finish is 11.6 best among active drivers.

Since 2006 he and Chad Knaus have won 22 races and 3 straight championships and are well on their way to a 4th one.

Some retired drivers and members of the media and even current drivers feel that Johnson is unappreciated and that fans should really see how great he is.

While I am not going to say Jimmie doesn't have talent as he certainly is a great racecar driver, he far from being the best driver top 12 at best.

Before Knaus there was a completely different Jimmie Johnson.

After success in off road racing and dirt bike racing Jimmie went to race for Herzog motorsports in the asa late models series in 1998.  While he finished 4th in points and won rookie of the year honors he failed to win a race or even finish in the top 5 during a race in cars that Tony Raines won the championship in asa late models in.

The next year Johnson improved his points finish to 3rd and won just 1 race.

In 2000 he made his jump to the nationwide series for Herzog motorsports.  Johnson finished 10th in points with 0 top fives and only 6 top tens. 

In 2001 he saw some success winning his 1 and only nationwide race on fuel mileage at the grand opening race at Chicagoland, had 4 top fives, 9 top tens and finished 8th in points behind drivers like Elton Sawyer and Tony Raines.

Johnson was a mediocre driver at best.  Since 1998 racing stock cars he had only assumed 2 wins and had 2 seasons without recording a single top 5 finish.

What changed?  Chad Knaus.

Chad Knaus was Stacy Compton's crew chief at the time in cup.  Compton who is below mediocre status was winning poles in his 92 Chad Knuas prepared car.

With Chad preivously being with Hendrick motorsports, Hendrick got Knaus back and paired him with Johnson for the 2002 season.

With the cars that Jeff Gordon won the 2001 series championship with, a great team like Hendrick motorsports behind him, Chad was able to showcase his true potential.

And that he has with after Homestead being his 4th championships in 8 seasons he will surely go down as the greatest crew chiefs all of time.

While it takes 2 to tango and Johnson does his part take this into notice.  What if Tony Raines who up until Johnson got into the 48 he was consistency beating Johnson was in the 48?  Would he have the same success Johnson has enjoyed?  I must say yes.

Many people believe Johnson has a place within the top 5 greats of all time.  I must disagree.  You must put Earnhardt and Petty 1st and 2nd, Gordon is a sure lock for 3rd, Stewart 4th (will become a sure lock once he wins a championship as a car owner) David Pearson in 5th, Darrell Waltrip in 6th, Cale Yarborugh 7th, Lee Petty 8th, Bobby Allison 9th, and then Jimmie Johnson in 10th.

So my question why praise Jimmie Johnson when we should be prasing Chad Knaus?

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