Is Jimmie Johnson Killing NASCAR?

Sal Sigala Jr.Senior Analyst IOctober 24, 2009

Five races left until the end of the season, or is it fives races left until the death of NASCAR according to some of the fans who are already writing their own obituaries?

After cruising the Internet's highways and byways taking in some of the small talk about the current state of the sport, which I did find kind of amusing at times, I couldn’t help but realize that many fans already have their needles full of embalming fluid and are waiting for Jimmie Johnson to win his fourth championship so that they can be the first to give NASCAR that last fatal shot.

It was hard not to sit back and wonder how a driver can be on the verge of making NASCAR history, but yet some are ready to walk away from this great sport of ours, and leave it for dead like some unwanted carcass on the side of the road.

Without first realizing that Johnson is just a victim of circumstances and that he has no control over the product that NASCAR has put at his disposal.

What happened to NASCAR loyalty or for a better term, the many that have stood through change after change and just rolled with the punches?

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These are some of the same fans who at one time said they would never abandon NASCAR because of their great love and passion for a sport that brought them joy during the racing season.

How many times in years past during the months of November, December, and January have you read post after post about this horrendous disease called, “NASCAR Fever?”

This so-called fever would hit in epidemic proportions during these months and the only cure for it was in February when it would magically cease to exist during Speed Weeks at Daytona International Speedway.

From then on, it wasn't long before the NASCAR boards were once again lit up, as the newly resurrected fans would overcrowd cyberspace with blog after blog about this great sport of ours.

Maybe I’m missing something, but did the NASCAR gods come down and rapture the sport, because the last driver who dominated was put on a pedestal instead of in a guillotine.

How ironic is it that whenever a team or individual excels above the rest in any other sport, they are usually glorified instead of crucified.

As it stands Jimmie Johnson is almost in a no win catch-22 position which shouldn’t have to be that way, especially when he is just doing what he gets paid to do.

But as tough as a NASCAR fan is, they choose to crucify a driver along with his team for the simple reasoning because he is winning races.

There have been many articles written about the driver along with the No. 48 Lowes sponsored Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet team.

And the opinions that have been expressed are pretty frightening, especially when you think about the current state of affairs that NASCAR is going through.

With attendance down along with sponsorship not as stable as it used to be, and some even saying that NASCAR is losing its zeal that made it one the fastest growing sports in years past,you would think that a dynasty is exactly what the sport needed to bring back the interest that is being lost, but instead it’s having a really bad adverse affect with many threatening to leave their first love.

Earlier in the year there were some who threatened to leave if something wasn’t done about Kyle Busch and his bizarre behavior, even though he was winning races.

Some even said that because NASCAR didn’t allow Dale Earnhardt Jr. into the chase, that this alone would kill the sport even though he still hasn’t made it to victory lane so far this season.

So now we have three drivers who could all be put on NASCAR’s most wanted list, as the ones who could have potentially been responsible for killing NASCAR.

But how can anyone think that a driver or team is responsible for the welfare of the sport, especially when they were given a product to work with while at the same time having no control over it?

Each team was given a set of guidelines to follow if they chose to participate in the sport and you can’t expect a driver to stop winning because his team took the time to work with the product that was given to them, instead of waiting for NASCAR to someday make their own changes.

So instead of putting the blame on a driver or team, go back and read the never ending stories about how the Chase is slowly killing the sport, along with the C.O.T. or Car of Tomorrow that completely stripped NASCAR of its true identity.

Now, these are just a few areas that can be changed to better the sport, since some blame these things for killing the sport, not the driver nor the team.

A product can be changed or altered for the better, but you can’t expect to tell a driver or team to quit winning just to suit the sport, especially when they are getting paid to make the sport look better.

So why should Johnson be blamed for winning? Maybe because he is just not a lot of fans driver of choice.

Do you stop buying your favorite make of automobile because your favorite driver, or celebrity is no longer in the commercial?

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