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NASCAR at Texas: Once Again All About Jimmie Johnson

David YeazellSenior Analyst INovember 6, 2009

At Texas Motor Speedway this weekend, as with the past few Chase races, all eyes, and most of the broadcast, will be on how or what Jimmie Johnson is doing.

Media strategy usually changes beginning with the first race of the Chase at New Hampshire. The majority of the broadcast focus and media attention shifts from the top 15, or even top 20 drivers, to the 12 Chase drivers.

Now as we enter the final three races and Jimmie Johnson’s amassed an almost insurmountable lead, it seems that Johnson alone is garnering the undivided attention of the TV media.

In game six of the 2009 World Series, there was an air of anticipation about the Yankees securing their 27th world title. As each out was recorded and each inning became history, especially in the final two innings, there was more and more talk of the inevitable.

It’s understandable why this happens, especially when it is quite possibly the final event. It would not be understandable with three, four or five events remaining.

Once Johnson took the points lead, each succeeding broadcast feels like it’s the final event.

While Chad Knaus and team Johnson continue to downplay the inevitable, it seems the TV broadcast continually finds ways to focus mainly on Johnson, and on occasion, the second or third place driver in the points.

Last week at Talladega, even while running in the back of the pack for the mid part of the race, Johnson’s name, position, points lead and what ever else they could find, was being inserted almost every lap.

There were 42 other drivers racing at Talladega, and while it was a bit of a snooze fest at times, it was still a race with 43 potential winners.

This week at Texas will most likely be more of the same.  Without actually saying the words that Jimmie Johnson is champion, it will continue to be all about him; with commercials and a few side notes of other drivers filling the dead air gaps.

Johnson only has to finish in the top 10 for the next three races to secure his fourth championship.

Each lap, and each time Johnson’s car changes position, this, and every imaginable scenario, coupled with every imaginable statistical probability, will be the bedrock of Sunday’s broadcast.

The post race show, on the other hand, should be slightly different. It will contain multiple analysis of how Johnson’s increase in points will impact the final two races.

There are still three races left and 42 other drivers competing.  

Photo Credit: David Yeazell     

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