Jimmie Johnson: Why Him Winning Again Would Destroy NASCAR

Elliott Pohnl@@ElliottPohnl_BRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 27, 2010

Jimmie Johnson: Why Him Winning Again Would Destroy NASCAR

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    DOVER, DE - SEPTEMBER 26: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 26, 2010 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo by G
    Geoff Burke/Getty Images

    Jimmie Johnson is on the cusp of claiming his fifth straight Sprint Cup title after winning at Dover on Sunday.

    Johnson took the lead with 34 laps remaining and held on from there to capture the AAA 400.

    After two races, Denny Hamlin is clinging to a 35-point lead in the Chase standings after finishing ninth Sunday in Delaware.

    Here’s 10 reasons why Jimmie Johnson winning another Sprint Cup title would be bad for NASCAR.

No. 10: Let Somebody Else Win Already

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    DOVER, DE - SEPTEMBER 26:  Matt Kenseth, driver of the #17 Crown Royal Ford, stands on the grid prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 26, 2010 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images for
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    This is getting a little bit ridiculous.

    After Tony Stewart claimed his second Sprint Cup in 2005, he and his fellow drivers have watched helplessly as Johnson began dominating.

    The No. 48 car has claimed four consecutive crowns dating back to 2006 when Johnson edged Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin.

    Since then, Johnson has cruised to three more Chase wins and appears poised to claim it again by rallying this year.

No. 9: Johnson's Not Your Typical NASCAR Driver

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    DOVER, DE - SEPTEMBER 26: (L-R) Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane with daughter Genevieve Marie and wife Chandra after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway o
    Geoff Burke/Getty Images

    The winner of the Associated Press Athlete of the Year award in 2009, Johnson doesn’t have the flair for the dramatic or the charisma of many of his fellow competitors.

    He quietly goes about his business without saying a whole lot, and lives a charmed life devoid of any personal problems.

    The California native’s laid-back attitude gives him a reputation for being a “pretty boy” of sorts.

    Just how many so-called pretty boys have been well-liked NASCAR drivers?

No. 8: Johnson's Not Controversial Enough

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    DOVER, DE - SEPTEMBER 26:  Kevin Harvick, driver of the #29 Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet, sits on pit wall prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 26, 2010 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty I
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    Johnson hasn’t found much controversy during his racing career, yet another way he distinguishes himself from his counterparts.

    That’s not necessarily a good thing for NASCAR fans looking forward to fights and feuds as the Chase heats up.

    Current leader Denny Hamlin got involved with Kevin Harvick during practice Saturday at Dover. Harvick seemed to deliberately wreck Hamlin, leading to a heated exchange following the incident.

    It is believed Harvick wanted to dispatch some payback after Hamlin ripped Richard Childress Racing in the wake of the Clint Bowyer failed inspection.

    With this controversy alive and well, why not keep hoping Hamlin stays at the top of the Chase standings?

No. 7: Let Tony Stewart Win

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    DOVER, DE - SEPTEMBER 26:  Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet,  stands on the grid prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 26, 2010 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo by Justin Heim
    Justin Heiman/Getty Images

    Even though he has mellowed quite a bit in recent years, Tony Stewart remains one of the most polarizing drivers in NASCAR.

    Why not cheer for him to at least be involved as the Chase Continues?

    Stewart currently sits in 10th place in the Sprint Cup standings, a distant 165 points behind Hamlin after finishing two laps down in 21st place overall Sunday in the AAA 400.

    It’s not looking good.

    One possible boost could be the lack of a teammate to hinder his hopes for the Chase.  Stewart and Kyle Busch are the only drivers without at least one teammate in NASCAR’s playoff.

No. 6: Let Denny Hamlin Win

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    DOVER, DE - SEPTEMBER 26:  Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, stands on the grid prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 26, 2010 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Im
    Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

    Hamlin finished ninth Sunday at Dover, which has to be considered a successful run given his struggles at the track.

    After not being afraid to criticize Richard Childress Racing, it would be nice to see the No. 11 come out on top in the race to the Chase.

    Hamlin has raced while recovering from surgery to repair a torn ACL earlier this year, and has remained a trendy pick to bump Johnson from his throne.

    History is not on his side…

No. 5: History Favors Johnson

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    DOVER, DE - SEPTEMBER 26:  Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 26, 2010 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevans
    Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

    Depending on how you look at the impressive string of four straight Sprint Cup Championships, Johnson could be due to come up short or simply win it again.

    The latter appears to be a fairly likely scenario at this point.

    If nothing else, history suggests Hamlin won’t prevail.

    In the history of the Chase, no driver who has led in the standings after the first two races has ever gone on to win the Cup.

No. 4: Johnson Is Getting Into Other Driver’s Heads

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    DOVER, DE - SEPTEMBER 26:  Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, stands on the grid prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 26, 2010 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Get
    Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

    Jimmie Johnson’s run of dominance has left his competitors with little choice but to shower him the praise.

    Prior to Sunday’s race, Kyle Busch paid his respects to the Johnson and the Hendrick team, telling Nascar.com,

    "No matter how he's run through the season and how many times you guys want to say, 'Oh, he's vulnerable,' boom, he's right there in the Chase. It's like they flipped the switch on and they're there. They know how to do it. They know how to run these last 10 races. I don't know if they have a team meeting before every race and say 'This is what we're going to do today,' and they end up doing it, or what.”

    It looks like Busch’s words were a shining example of foreshadowing.

    Johnson zoomed passed Busch yesterday to capture his 19th-career Chase win.

No. 3: Johnson’s Quiet Confidence Is Becoming Tiresome

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    DOVER, DE - SEPTEMBER 26:  Jimmie Johnson (L), driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet, and crew chief Chad Knaus talk in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 26, 2010 in Dover, Delaware.
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    The well-spoken Johnson lets his racing do the talking and keeps his mouth shut for the most part.

    At the same time, he exudes confidence and professes his faith in the quest for a fifth straight Sprint Cup Championship.

    Johnson might as well just come out and say it; he is the clear favorite to capture the Chase in 2010.

No. 2: Johnson Is Clearly Not the People’s Choice

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    DOVER, DE - SEPTEMBER 26:  Jimmie Johnson (L), driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet, and crew chief Chad Knaus celebrate in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 26, 2010 in Dover, Delaw
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Johnson’s run of dominance has created a big following in NASCAR nation, but hasn’t made him a cult-like figure just yet.

    For fans of other drivers, another title for Johnson would mark another disappointing season with no end in site.

    It would be nice to end the season with a different story to discuss besides another triumph for the No. 48 car.

No. 1: It Looked Like It Would Never Happen

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    DOVER, DE - SEPTEMBER 26:  Jimmie Johnson (R), driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet, hugs team owner Rick Hendrick in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 26, 2010 in Dover, Delaware.
    Geoff Burke/Getty Images

    For a long stretch, it appeared Johnson’s run would come to an end.

    After struggling in the middle of the season, Johnson has once again turned it up with the Chase getting underway, a pattern that has developed in recent seasons.

    Just when it seemed NASCAR was free from his vice, the Hendrick team is zeroing in on adding another chapter to its historical run of success.