Jimmie Johnson: First Try for a Win at Charlotte Motor Speedway

Sandra MacWattersCorrespondent IMay 26, 2010

CONCORD, NC - MAY 21:  Jimmie Johnson gets in the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 21, 2010 in Concord, North Carolina.  (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images)
John Harrelson/Getty Images

Lowe's Motor Speedway was home to Jimmie Johnson and he was dominant on a track he appeared to own.

The track's corporate sponsorship was withdrawn at the end of last season and the name was reverted back to Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Johnson's wins came during the period after 1999 when Lowe's bought the naming rights to the track. His record reflects six wins, nine top-five finishes, and 13 top-10 finishes for an average of 8.6 at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

Though the Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 team continues to prove they can run away from the field, there seems to be a change in karma for JJ.

Strange occurrences have been taking place.  The entanglement with Jeff Gordon, pit road speeding at Dover, and plowing through the infield during the All-Star Race are uncharacteristic of the Lowe's team.

The pressure is on Johnson as one third of the season is upon us and he continues his drive for a fifth consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup championship.

Karma is defined as a person's actions in one of the successive states of his existence that are thought of as determining his fate in the next.

Could it be that Johnson's four successive states as NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion will falter because his karma is being altered by outside forces?

Team and driver mistakes are one force.  Drivers like Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, and Jeff Gordon are some other threatening forces.

Now Johnson returns to a track he has mastered for the Coca-Cola 600, his first points race under the lights at Charlotte Motor Speedway.  His wins brought glory to his sponsor and the track's sponsor, Lowe's.

Half of that equation is gone now with the track name being Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Now many will say "so what?"  The track is the same, so Johnson should perform the same.

Sometimes subtle changes start a ripple that becomes a wave.

Seemingly insignificant instances have been multiplying for Johnson.  A pit error here, a spin there, a brush with the wall, a dropped lug nut, and guys in race cars that are just plain sick of Johnson's winning ways.

Momentum is gaining with other top drivers and their determination to win at any and all costs.

Jeff Gordon absolutely wants a fifth NASCAR Sprint Cup championship before Johnson gets it.

They both may be Hendrick Motorsports drivers, but Gordon intends to pressure Johnson into mistakes.  Hard feelings between the two were supposedly classified as non-issues.  Drivers never forget racing incidents.

The containment walls that hold Johnson's fifth championship may well be suffering stress cracks.

The cracks may widen with innocuous happenings as the season unwinds and the chase gets closer.

The irony which has caused the Champ to fall to an enviable fourth in the points standings has had nothing to do with the No. 48 not being fast on the track.

Chad Knaus continues to provide Johnson with a car capable of magically pulling away from the pack of leaders at will.

NASCAR may believe a fifth consecutive championship is good because of the media attention it would garner.  Perhaps a loss of that championship would be even better if they hope to keep fans from being turned off by some races that tend to become the Jimmie Johnson 500.

Stay tuned as our NASCAR top dog makes his first attempt to win at Charlotte Motor Speedway.  We shall see if a flawless win will ensue or if a change in karma will plague Johnson.