Welcome NASCAR fans to my NASCAR blog. There seams to be a big rivalry going these days in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series between Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson. Not that they are bashing into each other or taking each other out. But they both want the same thing: to win their fifth Cup Championship.
As you’ll recall, Jeff Gordon was “Wonder Boy” back when he came to Winston Cup. Jeff was a Rookie in 1994 and won two races. The following year he won his first Cup Championship. At the time, Dale Earnhardt won his record tying seventh Championship. Along comes Gordon, who prevents Dale from any more championships. Jeff won his first Championship in 1995, in his sophomore year. Followed by back to back Titles in 1997 and 1998. His last one was in 2001.
Jimmie Johnson came into NASCAR Racing in 2002. He raced a year in the Busch Series and had only one win. But Jeff saw something in him and became part owner of the 48 team with Rick Hendrick. The two of them share the same garage. Jeff hasn’t had another Title since Jimmie showed up.
Tony Stewart won the championship in 2002 and Matt Kenseth did it in 2003. Then NASCAR got a new President in Brian France. Winston Cup was no longer in 2004, the sponsorship being taken over by Nextel. And Brian started his version of playoffs with the Chase for the Nextel Cup. Kurt Busch won that year after starting the chase in ninth. Fans hated the chase, but the media loved it.
Tony Stewart won the Title the next year. And then Jimmie took over. He has won the last four championships in a row, something that has never been done. Since Jimmie started in 2002, he has never been lower than fifth in points. This year, 2010, he won his 50th race. And Jeff is getting tired of Jimmie winning all the time, when he used to be the one winning all the time. Jeff had 33 wins in three years!
This year, Jimmie already has three wins. Jeff has none. Jeff had no wins in 2008 and only one in 2009. Jimmie averages seven in a year. Jimmie has all the Sprint Cup championships. Jeff has four championships, but they all were before the chase, when Winston was the sponsor.
Both Jimmie and Jeff are going for their fifth championship. Jimmie is going for five in a row with the chase format. Jeff wants his first under the new format, fifth in all. Jimmie is very good with chase races. They are his best tracks. All Jimmie has to do is be in the top twelve in points following Richmond (the 26th race of the year), and he will win the championship.
This year NASCAR declared the drivers to “have at it”. Letting the drivers police themselves on the track. So now the question will be who will take Jimmie out so that he doesn’t get his fifth in a row? In all fairness to Jimmie, he is winning, not by getting into others to do it, but by passing and racing better. And he has a real handle on the chase. Crew chief, Chad Knaus and Jimmie have it all figured out.
Jimmie, this year, has already won three races. And Jeff should have won as many. Jimmie is being touted as one of the best closers of the Series. But, of course, Jeff wants to win like Jimmie is winning. So there is the rivalry.
The fans are divided into Jimmie fans and Jimmie haters. It is now anyone but Jimmie. Where as it had been anyone but Jeff. In my opinion, NASCAR needs to get rid of the chase. A playoff is not needed in NASCAR, as there are no divisions to play off. And all 43 cars are still competing with each other through the last ten races. Jeff might have won a couple of those championships if there were no chase. I say put it back and let the points for 36 races determine the champ, instead of just the last ten races. The fans wanted double file restarts. And NASCAR gave it to them. The fans wanted the drivers to be able to race each other without NASCAR fining them. And NASCAR complied. Now I say get rid of the chase so that someone other than Jimmie can win the championship. If Jimmie wins this year, I sure hope NASCAR listens to the fans, instead of the media.
Brought to you by Sheila Hawley
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