NASCAR

Fred Lorenzen and Jimmie Johnson

MARTINSVILLE, VA - OCTOBER 23:  Jimmie Johnson gets in the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet in the garage prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 23, 2009 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
William CorleyCorrespondent INovember 12, 2009

BACK IN THE DAY

When I was first exposed to the sport of Nascar racing, Fred Lorenzen was a Northern driver from Elmhurst, IL. He had Hollywood looks and could drive a race car.

Lorenzen gave me a Pure Oil racing jacket in the garage area at Atlanta International Raceway back in 1961 and I was a FAN forever.

Lorenzen was driving for Holman-Moody, Ford's number one factory team and won 3 races in only 15 starts in '61. 

They did not enter any of the short track races that were on the Nascar schedule and choose to race on the "NEW" Superspeedways that were springing up in the South.

The famous car No. 28 had Herb Nab as it's crew chief and Herb was as good as anyone out there.

Oh, and he had names! "FAST FREDIE", "THE ELMHURST EXPRESS" , "THE GOLDEN BOY" and others.

Ford was boycotting Nascar and Lorenzen only entered 19 races in 1962, but still managed to win 2 of them.

By 1963, Ford Motor Co. was back in racing, financing a fleet of cars on the NASCAR Grand National trail.

Lorenzen hit his stride, winning 6 races in 29 starts and finishing third in the final points standings, despite starting a shade more than half the races.

He amassed winnings that totaled $122,588 and became the first driver to earn more than $100,000 in a single season.

Statistically, Lorenzen's most productive season was 1964 when he won half of his 16 NASCAR Grand National starts.

Following the 1964 Daytona 500, Lorenzen went on a tear, winning five straight starts.

He drove his No. 28 Holman-Moody Ford to consecutive victories at Bristol, Atlanta, North Wilkesboro, Martinsville, and Darlington. Of the 1953 laps during that five-race stretch, Lorenzen led 1679 of them.

It remains one of the most dominating performances over seven weeks in the history of NASCAR.

Lorenzen went on to win 26 races in his short Nascar career and retired at the early age of 32. He saved his Nascar earnings and became a successful Real Estate Broker in Chicago, Il.

In 1999, he was named one of Nascar's 50 Greatest Drivers.

Now you see why Jimmie Johnson is in the story's headline! Johnson is having a career in Nascar like few others.

Jimmie Johnson has taken Nascar by storm and because of his good looks and quiet nature, the new and young Nascar fan's have not appreciated his accomplishments.

I sure have and I've not seen a driver, and that includes Jeff Gordon, dominate like Jimmie Johnson.

What Johnson has done in eight full seasons in Nascar's premiere series is simply mind boggling.

Let's start with wins. How about 46 in just 286 starts.

In those 286 starts he also has:

115 Top 5's

178 Top 10's

22 Pole Position's

And then there is prize money! Jimmie Johnson has won over $81,000,000.00 in just EIGHT short years.

That's official Nascar earnings and does not include Personal Services, Appearances and Souvenir Sales!

I won't give him ALL the credit, as you must note that Rick Hendrik supplies the best equipment available.

And there's Chad Knaus, who in my eye's is the best Crew Chief in all of Nascar.

In the ultra competitive sport of Nascar's Sprint Cup Series, Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus have a bond like no other in the sport.

They think alike and Johnson tells Knaus what the car needs and Knaus makes the changes.

There are two races left in the 2009 Chase for the Cup and since 1975, only TWO drivers have failed to win the Cup after leading with two races to go.

My money is on the No. 48 with Johnson, Knaus and Hendrick!

Nascar and it's HISTORY! There is Nothing in all of Motorsports that compares!

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