NASCAR Sprint Cup 2010 1st Half Report: Jimmie Johnson

Todd JacobsCorrespondent IJuly 16, 2010

JOLIET, IL - JULY 10:  Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet, races Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Snickers Toyota, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series LIFELOCK.COM 400 at the Chicagoland Speedway on July 10, 2010 in Joliet, Illinois.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Jimmie Johnson has been on a rollercoaster as we reach the halfway point of the NASCAR Sprint Cup season. Johnson opened the season winning his qualifying race at Daytona then crashed in the Daytona 500 to start his quest for a fifth consecutive NASCAR title in a large hole in points.

Since then, Johnson's season has been impressive and disappointing for the Rick Hendrick No. 48 Lowe's team. Johnson has plenty on his plate at the track and at home. His wife is with child and now expected to give birth within a few weeks of the halfway point of the season. At the track, his team has struggled to adjust to the new spoiler but have now rattled off back-to-back wins as the season reached the midpoint.

Jimmie Johnson 24/7 on HBO May Not Have Come off Well for Four-Time Champ

Jimmie Johnson  and Chad Knaus were the subject of HBO's famous sports documentary series 24/7. The show, entitled 24/7 The Road to Daytona , followed Johnson and his crew chief Knaus as they prepared to begin the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. Both Johnson and Knaus came off a bit cocky and not very likable, but then again they have won the last four Cup Championships .

Although both Johnson and Knaus were both in front of the camera over the weekend and throughout the week, they came off as trying to show a rougher, unpolished side to themselves. That came off as phony.

Knaus has always had the cocky edge to him, and Johnson has won over 50 races during his career and has become noticeably detached over the last year. Although Johnson won his Daytona 500 qualifying race, he had a miserable finish during the main race. But the team did not panic.

Johnson Sweeps the NASCAR West Coast Swing in Dominating Fashion

Johnson probably heard many discussing his demise after Daytona and then promptly went out and dominated California and Las Vegas on NASCAR's West Coast Swing. He followed that up by winning for the first time on the Bristol half mile.

Then the No. 48 team went into a hole, as Johnson went on a 10-race winless streak. Kurt Busch laughed when asked at a press conference for Loudon if he thought Johnson was back now that he broke his 10-race winless streak.

Busch's response was an exasperated, "Come on. Are you serious? Ten-race winless streak?" Busch asked as he shook his head in disbelief of the question. Johnson of course won Sonoma and Loudon back-to-back as the season edged towards the halfway point.

Jimmie Johnson's Mid-Season Report Card A

Johnson has had an up and down season but he has five wins, which is more than half the drivers in NASCAR will ever win in their careers. Johnson won on a two-mile track, a mile-and-a-half, high-banked track, the Bristol half-mile, the Infineon road course and the flat, fast mile at Loudon.

There is no track Johnson can't win at and he is looking like a solid favorite to win his fifth consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup title.

In an era of parity in NASCAR the No. 48 Hendrick team has found the magic elixir that no one else has in NASCAR.

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