Jimmie Johnson and the #48 Hendrick team made history again at the Homestead-Miami Speedway taking their fifth consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. To all the naysayers and the ones that said he and the #48 were done, Jimmie, crew chief Chad Knaus and all of Hendrick Motorsports rose to the occasion, overcame all adversity and did exactly what they needed to do to win the coveted and unprecedented fifth consecutive title. It was a hard fought victory on a day that saw all three contenders for The Cup struggle through good and bad moments right down the final laps.
On the other hand, Carl Edwards seemed to have the field covered all day as he led 190 laps and took the trophy for the Ford 400 home with him. Of course, his dominance went basically unnoticed and hardly anyone paid much attention to his commanding performance as all eyes were focused on the drama taking place between the top three in the points race. Even his time and celebration in Victory Lane was just a precursor to the celebration of the #48 team.
From this fan’s view, I don’t think everybody understands just what has been happening (and, yeah, I know many are tired of hearing about the historic and commanding performance of the #48 Hendrick team and driver Jimmie Johnson over the last five seasons.) In a time when the competition has never been as close between teams as it is right now, this team has won five consecutive championship titles. If it was hard to do before, it is even harder to do now. Right now, is the most competitive time in NASCAR history and despite all the criticism, “black helicopter” stories and finger pointing, this team has stayed focused and done what no one else in NASCAR history has done to this point.
I have heard the rumblings of some fans that say the #48 team hasn’t really won the Championship (like “back in the day”) because of the way the Chase is set up; It appears they think they’ve only won the Chase. I have to admit to you, I haven’t looked at it that way and still don’t.
(I guess this is the place where I go into a slight rant, because I really don’t understand some people and their thinking process.) From my view, the #48 team has performed well during the seasons in question and in the Chases those years, too. This year in particular was what many asked for (in one way or another) and that was a Chase that wasn’t a blowout by Jimmie Johnson. I guess my questions to those I just mentioned is this, “Did Jimmie Johnson make it into the Chase in those years and the others and was there a time when he didn’t win?”
Okay, so do I think there are changes that could be made to the Chase format that could make it even better and still have one like we had this year? You bet I do, but no one can argue with this years result, (in fact, I even wrote about it in a previous post.) If you’re reading, this you can >> CLICK HERE << to go to that article (and to the ones that are just listening to the blog/cast… well… you need to visit the site and read about it… or, you can read one of the articles I have planned for the off-season; that should bring you up to date on my thoughts on the matter and I’ll be just a little bit more thorough.)
Personally, I think this year, Jimmie Johnson, Chad Knaus and every person at Hendrick Motorsports has shown just how human they are and how willing they are to keep on plugging away no matter what the circumstances and how much legitimate (and of course, illegitimate) criticism they receive for accomplishing what they have and for setting the bar so high.
So the question HAS been answered about the #48 team and whether or not they could actually run to win when they had to. They proved in Homestead they could take the hands they were dealt and still come out on top. Will it happen again? Hey, I’m not even going to go there (there’s already enough people out there talking about that.) From this fan’s view, I’m just going to wait and see what happens…
See ya next time… Rusty
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© November 24, 2010 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman and NascarFansView.com
(All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and PCNProductions.com)