There's Jimmie Johnson celebrating another championship. 4 in a row a huge accomplishment.
Not to mention 29 wins, 64 top fives, 158 top tens, 6,340 laps led, and not winning less than 5 races in this time span.
The 48 team led by Chad Knaus the 48 team has set the benchmark for generations of drivers, crew chiefs and race teams that aspire to win championships in the cup series in general.
All teams that are going for the championships (I can think of at least 34) are going to try to figure out how they can beat the 48 at their own game, something they haven't done in 4 seasons.
There is a sure bet way to beat the 48 team but your gonna have to have an open mind.
Okay here we go.
Don’t let Knaus, Johnson and the 48 team make the chase for the Sprint Cup championship.
Sounds easy enough right?
Can we have at least 12 teams really step up to the plate and out run the 48 for 26 races, making them miss out on what they have made their playground i.e. the chase.
Improbable? Yes. Impossible? No.
Jeff Gordon missed the chase in 2005, Tony Stewart in 2006 with Carl Edwards & Kurt Busch, the senior Busch again in 2008, and Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch both missed it in 2009. All these drivers are top notch and even they have missed out on the fun at least once (the Buschs has missed out on it twice)
We all know Johnson won't last on top forever. Knaus knows it and Johnson knows it. He is bound to have some more bad luck than usual some time soon (perhaps)
And look at teams/drivers that can out run and run with the 48. Tony Stewart , Jeff Gordon, Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, Juan Pablo Montoya, Kyle Busch, Mark Martin, Denny Hamlin, and Kurt Busch (yes it is 9 but bare with me now)
Who knows, this is the first season I can remember that Johnson was declared the favorite for the championship.
In 2006 it was Stewart and he missed the chase.
In 2007 it was Kevin Harvick and he won the Daytona 500 but finished 10th in points.
In 2008 it was Gordon he finished 7th in points and went winless.
In 2009 it was Edwards but he finished 11th in points and went winless.
Maybe being on the radar more than usual this time of year can affect the 48 team. Again improbable? Yes. Impossible? No.
2010 will be an interesting one. Stewart Haas racing has a year under their belt and should by theory be stronger, Martin and his new crew chief have a year under their belt, Roush Fenway racing is doing all they need to do to succeed more than they did in 2009, the duo of Jamie McMurray and Montoya at Earnhardt Ganassi racing could be interesting, Richard Childress racing made huge gains at the end of 2009, Gordon and Letarte keep on getting more consistent, the Busch brothers both have new crew chiefs, and Hamlin hit his stride with winning 4 races in 2009.
SO here is an even harder task for teams to do. Get the 48 out of the top 35 in owner’s points. Oh yeah them pesky championship proviosnals.