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Can Jimmie Johnson Win Four Consecutive Championships

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2009-02-23 05:48:54     
Article by Richard Paul

Winning back-to-back championships is a rare feat in NASCAR these days. Prior to the recent Jimmie Johnson ascendancy, the last driver to win championship is succession was none other than Jeff Gordon in 1997 and 1998.

Many fans and analysts perceived three consecutive championships in today's NASCAR as virtually impossible to accomplish. Cale Yarborough won three championships in a row in 1976, 1977, and 1978. Many will contend that NASCAR was a different sport during that stretch of time. There were fewer teams with powerful resources. There were only a handful of teams capable of winning on a consistent basis.

In our current era, the competition is tight; nevertheless, if a team discovers a technological advantage, it can make a huge difference on race day, and that team can leave the competition in the dust. That seems to be the case with Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 team. The Hendrick Motorsports team won championship in 2006, 2007, and 2008, making him only the second driver to three-peat.

Even prior to his championship seasons, he was winning, and winning often. In fact, ever since Johnson arrived to NASCAR's highest level of competition, he has finished no worse than fifth in the final Sprint Cup standings. It is apparent that Jimmie Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus have this NASCAR thing down pat. They lead the list of favorites in 2009.

How would a fourth consecutive championship affect the sport of NASCAR? Would it be good for the sport? It is a double-edged sword. It would be good for the sport because it has never been accomplished, and may never be accomplished again in our lifetime, meaning that we would be witnessing one of the most impressive achievements in Sprint Cup history.

It could also present a negative affect on the sport based on the lack of parity. While Johnson has a respectable fan base, the majority of fans have not embraced Johnson the way other champions have been embraced. Some fans just simply want to see someone different hoist the championship trophy at Homestead in November. It is becoming habitual for Johnson to sit at the head table during the December awards banquet, and fans are starving for a new champion.

Winning four championships would be unbelievable, perhaps the second most impressive NASCAR statistic behind only the seven total championships won by Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt.

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