Jimmie Johnson: Why His Fifth Straight Title Is a Disaster for NASCAR

Elliott Pohnl@@ElliottPohnl_BRFeatured ColumnistNovember 21, 2010

Jimmie Johnson: Why His Fifth Straight Title Is a Disaster for NASCAR

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    Jimmie Johnson won his fifth straight NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship Sunday by finishing second in the Ford 400.

    It was a win many people could see coming, but only a few people wanted to see.

    At this point, Johnson's dominance is just getting a little ridiculous.

    Denny Hamlin came into the day with a slim lead in the Chase but ran far from a flawless race and ended up finishing in 14th place.

    Although Carl Edwards took the checkered flag, all eyes were on Johnson and the No. 48 car.

    What else is new?

    Here's a look at why Jimmie Johnson's continued dominance is bad for NASCAR.

No. 10: Nobody Else Got a Chance

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    For some reason, you just had the feeling Denny Hamlin would falter and allow Johnson to take the title.

    That's exactly what happened, as Hamlin had a long afternoon in Homestead before coming in 14th.

    Tony Stewart's Cup win way back in 2005 is all but a distant memory now.

No. 9: Not Controversial Enough

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    This isn't golf; it's auto racing.

    It's a sport where the most beloved drivers are the most fiery and controversial.

    Johnson has neither of those qualities.

    Sure, the legacy of continued success has opened the door for his presence to be felt throughout the sports world.

    In the end, NASCAR would be better served to have a lightning rod like Stewart holding the Cup.

No. 8: Jimmie's Just Too Cool

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    Although he isn't usually outspoken about his confidence, Johnson wasn't afraid to play some mind games against his opponents in the press conference leading up to Sunday's race.

    It's that kind of behavior that makes him an irritant to many NASCAR fans.

    If you think you're a bad ass, you might as well just come out and say it.

No. 7: Denny Hamlin Should Have Won

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    The object of Johnson's mind games had a race to forget Sunday.

    Denny Hamlin entered the day with a 15-point lead, but his chances quickly slipped away.

    After returning to his No. 11 car following ACL surgery, he enjoyed a very consistent season.

    Fewer drivers put up a grittier fight than Hamlin, who didn't seem to be rattled by Johnson's string of dominance.

No. 6: History Repeats Itself Yet Again

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    In recent years, Jimmie Johnson has started out slow on the circuit.

    Just when we think his time has passed and another driver will be a better pick to win NASCAR's playoff, he turns things around.

    His Hendrick team sputtered in the middle of the season, only to put those struggles behind him down the stretch.

    We've seen this movie all too many times before.

No. 5: Not the Most Polarizing Driver

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    It's not a good thing when the best athlete in any sport isn't the most popular driver.

    Or the least popular driver.

    Johnson is a dominant force, but he won't be remembered for being anything other than a winner.

    In a sport filled with characters, the California native is a bit lacking when it comes to personality.

No. 4: The Pit Crew Swap

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    Hendrick Motorsports did something unprecedented heading down the stretch in the race for the Chase.

    In an effort to improve Johnson's pit times, owner Hendrick decided to move Jeff Gordan's crew to the No. 48 car for the final two races of the season.

    The change first took place during the early November race in Texas and was defended by both Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus.

    Since the switch helped Johnson secure his fifth straight cup, don't be surprised if we see it again in the years ahead.

No. 3: It Shouldn't Be This Easy

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    So many things can go wrong in a given race; it's tough to imagine a single driver having this stretch of dominance on the NASCAR circuit.

    We don't have to imagine it, because it's happened.

    Johnson's run deserves to be applauded, but there's no reason Hamlin, Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards shouldn't feel like they could have done more.

    Until his luck runs out, Johnson's competitors will need to rise to the occasion.

No. 2: How Can He Be Beaten?

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    The odds are not on Jimmie Johnson's side when it comes to possibly winning a sixth straight Cup next year.

    But at this point, it's safe to say those odds should be thrown out the window.

    In large part because he has avoided wrecks, Johnson has managed to keep rolling while others have faltered.

    Don't be surprised if the No. 48 car gets roughed up a bit more than usual next season.

    It might take some dirty tactics to dethrone Johnson's continued run to glory.

No. 1: Johnson Making NASCAR a One-Car Sport

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    The worst thing that can happen in any sport is for a player or team to so singularly dominant that the end result isn't even in question.

    That's exactly what Johnson's success has done to NASCAR.

    There's no great rivalry between drivers or teams, it will merely be Johnson and then all the rest.  Any aspect of competition eventually gives way to the inevitable end result.

    It's about time someone knocks Jimmie Johnson from his lofty perch.