NASCAR's Jimmie Johnson: The Unraveling of a Champion

Sandra MacWattersCorrespondent IApril 26, 2010

FORT WORTH, TX - APRIL 16:  Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet, sits in his car on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 16, 2010 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

The NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, Jimmie Johnson, commonly described as vanilla, may be in meltdown mode.  He wants his fifth consecutive title so bad that he has turned evil on the track.

A champion is defined as one that is clearly superior and has the attributes of a winner. A championship covers a defined period of time a champion holds his title.

Jimmie Johnson can now see the end of his reign approaching this year as the NASCAR Sprint Cup season unwinds.

Could it be he can no longer endure the pressures that challenge his ability to secure another championship? 

His new driving style may be attracting enemies who are ready to take his No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet out of competition.

His recent shenanigans with Jeff Gordon exemplify characteristics of a coward.  He no longer can race clean, so he will do his best to impede anyone who appears to threaten his winning ways.

During the Aaron's 499, Johnson created havoc when he pulled in front of Greg Biffle thinking he had cleared him.

In reality, he expected Biffle to give him room.  Johnson's spotter was saying "outside only," which Jimmie could have interpreted as permission to move in front of Biffle.  It appeared Johnson just thought he had the right of way.

In Texas he drove into the side of Gordon.  In Talladega, with seven laps remaining, he blocked Jeff's strong run down the back stretch pushing him below the yellow line.  The No. 24 Chevy lost momentum and was then collected by several cars.

Jeff Gordon expressed extreme displeasure with the NASCAR hotshot.  He said after the race, "he (Johnson) is really testing my patience."  His remaining remarks were not quite as kind. 

Perhaps there is a bit too much testosterone in the stables of the two thoroughbreds housed together at Hendrick Motorsports.

Two four-time Sprint Cup champs, who are supposed to be friends, have played nice since Johnson was brought to Hendrick by Gordon and began his winning ways. 

Jeff Gordon brought the talented racer into the fold and has been pummeled by him in the championship department.  Jeff has not been able to attain the coveted title since Jimmie's arrival.

It appears the friendship between the two is fake at best.  Gordon is done playing games with Johnson.

The driver of the No. 48 is tempting fate with his actions.  Chad Knaus can be his crew chief, cheer leader, and No. 1 fan, but he cannot protect him from the onslaught of driver retaliation that is about to befall the champion.

Of course it won't really be retaliation, but a series of racing incidents.

Jimmie Johnson knows his time as the NASCAR Sprint Cup champion is just about over.  He is threatened by Jeff Gordon who is trying to reach the same goal of winning a fifth championship.

Greg Biffle was second to Jimmie in the points standings prior to the race at Talladega. 

Oops! 

Johnson decides to get him out of the way while he had a chance.

Jimmie Johnson still remains confident and somewhat arrogant.  He had little to say to the media after the Aaron's 499, but unless he finished in the top-five he really had no obligation to do so.

The new Jimmie Johnson is running scared—if he can't beat them, he will wreck them. 

It just may be the pressure is a bit much for him, his sense of entitlement is crumbling, and he knows he can be beaten despite the Knaus magic. 

His actions have become unprofessional and immature for someone in his position.

Could it be our NASCAR Sprint Cup champion is starting to unravel before our eyes?