Nascar At Fontana A/C: Jimmie Johnson Wins the Auto Club 500… (and the Whining Begins)

Let’s see if I’ve got this straight… as long as Jimmie Johnson and the Hendrick teams aren’t running up front, (uh, I mean the Hendrick teams other than Dale Jr), all is right with Nascar once again.

Jamie McMurray won the Daytona 500 and Jimmie Johnson finished 35th on a day the #48 team would really like to forget and all of the naysayers  rejoiced at the possibility the consecutive championship runs for Jimmie Johnson were all but done.

It seemed as long as Kevin Harvick and Jeff Burton looked to be running the #48 car down in the Auto Club 500, and appeared to be faster, there was still hope for Nascar to survive…


Now it seems that all of the whiners have come back out of hiding and are vocally expressing their belief that Nascar is once again headed on a downhill slide until they find a reason to park Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus, (another chuckle). I can’t believe that some actually think they cheated and that Jimmie Johnson ran Kevin Harvick into the wall to keep him from passing him, (and nothing could be further from the truth. If you don’t believe me, just ask Kevin Harvick.)

So what is the answer to this seeming dilemma we are constantly reminded we are facing?

First of all, it is this fan’s opinion there is no dilemma and that some of the media “gripers” and a whole lot of whiners” need to “suck it up” and “get over it.” Somehow all of them seem to miss the fact that last year was a great year for Nascar, (no matter how much they whined.) They also seem to miss the fact that since the end of the 2009 season and the beginning of this season, Nascar made a lot of decisions and rule changes that will only make it better for the fans and the teams and could make the racing even better in the days to come, (as if those changes haven’t made a difference already.) If the racing at Daytona didn’t raise a few eyebrows about the quality of racing we’re seeing, then I seriously doubt whether some of the other teams performing better will either.

The #48 Hendrick Team is causing the rest of the other Nascar teams to look at where they are in the competition. If nothing else, Chad Knaus and Jimmie Johnson are making everyone else work that much harder to catch up to the level they have set. Does that mean it will never happen? No. What it means is that the other teams are going to have keep on working on their programs until they attain or surpass the standard set by the #48 Hendrick team.

I hate to keep bringing up racing at my local tracks, but we went through the same thing. We had a guy that kicked our butts week in and week out. It didn’t matter where he  started or even if he was a half a lap down to the rest of us at some point in a race. He was winning every week and the only thing that saved us from losing every week was whether the race ran out of laps before he ran out of horse power and handling.

So… did the rest of us just lay down and wait for him to break or meet with some other kind of disaster. No… his success made the rest of us work all the harder, looking for something to make us better and faster. Did it happen over just a couple of weeks? No, of course not; It took a while but some of us began to gain on the overwhelming success of that other car and driver. It may have seemed like forever to some, but eventually, we were competing with him again, not just getting our doors blown off by him. Soon, he was the one playing catch-up and some of the rest of us had an advantage that was envied by the rest of the field. That’s just the way racing goes…

So, before getting upset about the success of a certain team, just remember a time will come when the “gripers” and “whiners” will be bad-mouthing Chad Knaus and Jimmie Johnson and the rest of the #48 team for not performing well enough. At that time, those same people that are complaining about their performance now, will be complaining about their lack of performance and saying that “the magic is gone…”

How can I say this? Because it has happened before and it, most definitely, will happen again.

The one thing I know for sure is this; the day that Nascar is only big enough for one team to be successful and the rest quit trying, that is the day that Nascar will die…

See ya next time… Rusty

All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer

© February 24, 2010 – all rights reserved

Rusty Norman and