Johnson on a Roll, In Hot Pursuit of 3rd Cup Title
Well, he doesn’t have 7 wins in the Sprint Cup Series this season, and it doesn’t appear as though he’ll be attempting to break any of NASCAR’s overall win records at the moment, but if you ask Jimmie Johnson, dubbing Kyle Busch as your 2008 Sprint Cup champion at this point is very premature.
Johnson currently sits 4th in the points standings, but has been methodically working his way up the ladder these past few weeks after getting off to a rather slow start to the season by his standards. After winning 10 races last year and 5 in the year before, the no. 48 team had only one win and no poles to their credit through the first 19 races of the season, and that lone win (Phoenix) was won on fuel mileage no less. Still, with one of the best teams in the sport behind him, spearheaded by Crew Chief, Chad Knaus, the team kept plugging away week after week, taking advantage of any testing opportunity that presented itself, and it’s paid off.
Jimmie dashed his way to the pole for last week’s Allstate 400 and then dominated the ensuing race to pickup his 2nd career victory at the Brickyard, and his second win of the season. And, whether his motivation was to clear any doubt that it may have been a one-off deal or if it was just for good measure, he’s followed last week’s performance up by also taking the pole award for today’s running of the Pennsylvania 500 in Pocono.
While it’s obvious that the team’s on a roll right now, if you have any doubt as to just how far this kind of momentum can carry them, just take a look back at last year’s archives. The scary thing is that at this time last year Johnson was 9th in the standings, but managed to rattle off 6 wins in the final 16 races of the season, finishing outside of the top-ten only three times in that span, and never finishing worse that 21st. He went onto capture his second consecutive Sprint Cup title that year, and if he can pull of a repeat of last Fall’s performance again, then he would match Cale Yarbrough’s record as the only drivers in the modern era to win the Cup three years in a row.