Every year NASCAR manages to provoke its fans to a scream conspiracy. This season has been no exception, with four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup series champion Jimmie Johnson falling prey to the newest conspiracy.
Over the past few weeks I have read many articles and blogs concerning NASCAR and the elusive conspiracy theory. Many of these NASCAR conspiracies include cautions for invisible debris, drivers being allowed to win to make history or to commemorate the loss of a father, erroneous cautions to bunch the car for a better restart or potential outcome, and the elective three attempts for green and white checkered flags.
The last conspiracy I read involved Jimmie Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus, who are rumored to be in possession of a manual that contained detailed secrets on how to make the engine faster, along with how to win the NASCAR series. Is it just me to think that ALL crew chiefs should already have this type of “secret” manual?
The newest theory claims that NASCAR has returned to using spoilers instead of its previous wing in attempt to keep Jimmie Johnson from winning a fifth championship title. It was being said that NASCAR fans were becoming less interested in the sport because one driver was dominating the Series.
The Car of Tomorrow (CoT) made its debut in 2007 as NASCAR's next-generation race car which included a wing for aerodynamics. The intent of the rear wing was to give the car not only a sportier look, but also allow air to flow easier down the back of the car. After many fans complained about the look of the new CoT cars, NACAR reverted back to the rear spoiler package this past March at Martinsville.
After having not much success with the rear spoiler change Johnson said, “I know there's been some conversation that maybe [Hendrick Motorsports] or the 48 team has had some troubles with the spoiler being on the car, and I can't say it's changed much for us.
"We've been saying this all along, even with the 48 car being on top of its game—stuff doesn't last forever.
"The garage area gets smarter; teams, drivers, everybody is developing, trying to make their equipment get faster and better. We're not where we want to be right now. We're still very competitive.”
Johnson placed outside of the top 10 in 10 of the 19 races using the new rear spoiler because Johnson believes the car now handles differently in traffic and is a little less stable.
Johnson looks to lock his position in the Chase by ensuing top-32 finishes over the next two races. Once locked, Johnson will be the only driver to compete in all seven Cup Chases.
Conspiracy or not, the question begs: Has the rear spoiler spoiled Jimmie Johnson from visiting Victory Lane for a fifth Sprint Cup Championship?