Jimmie Johnson's Golden Horseshoe Becomes Bull's Eye

Sandra MacWattersCorrespondent IAugust 23, 2010

BRISTOL, TN - AUGUST 21:  Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet, hits the wall in turn 1 during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21, 2010 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

Jimmie Johnson's comment at Bristol may portend his future.  Johnson said in an interview that he was "hooked with force" during Saturday night's race.

Juan Pablo Montoya hit the Lowe's No. 48 Chevy in the right rear sending Johnson into the outside wall.  Johnson went on to say he didn't think it was intentional, but you have to know Montoya was for sure not going to cut him any slack.

Johnson finished 35th in the race, dropping four places to ninth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings.

Johnson's team and his crew chief, Chad Knaus, are certainly disappointed in recent finishes that have been less than stellar.

His last seven finishes have been, 35th, 12th, 28th, 10th, 22nd, 25th, and 31st.  These seem to be odd finishes considering he has run up front in most of the races.

The fact that Johnson's five wins this season give him a 50 point advantage going into the Chase eases the pain.

If he can make it through the Atlanta and Richmond races without really bad finishes, he will remain easily in the top-10 in points.

Earlier this season, Kevin Harvick implied Johnson had a "golden horseshoe" as part of his anatomy because of his wins.

Now who sits atop the point standings but Kevin Harvick followed by Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch.

Johnson's four consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup titles have been as popular as mosquitoes at a picnic with the overall NASCAR fan base.  Even Brian France plans changes to the Chase to liven it up.

It appears drivers are pretty tired of his winning ways, especially in the Chase format.

The time has come when Johnson has an invisible bull's eye plastered on his Lowe's No. 48 and any golden horseshoe is long gone.

Drivers in the Sprint Cup series don't intend to show the Champion respect as the "have at it" attitude will continue into the Chase.

Johnson might as well be prepared for more on-track adventures like the "hooked with force" incident he experienced at Bristol.

The flawless performance of Knaus and the team has been peppered with mistakes that are atypical of them.  Pressure for that fifth title may just be taking its toll.

Some may counter that Knaus is experimenting prior to the Chase causing some of the mishaps, but with their recent finishes, experimenting is not the issue.

The Sprint Cup guys are gunning for Johnson and Harvick, while Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, and Denny Hamlin will be hot to win this year's Championship.

Sorry Jimmie, but number five is just not meant to be.