Forbes has named Jimmie Johnson America’s Most Influential Athlete for the second straight year.
6 of the top 10 on the list are NFL quarterbacks. No. 7 on the list is the only other NASCAR driver in the top 10 – Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Earnhardt was 3rd on the list last year. Jeff Gordon also appeared last year but he did not make this year’s cut
“It is just a huge honor,” said Johnson. “I think it’s very good for NASCAR.
The rankings are based on public opinion polls conducted by Nielsen and E-poll. 1100 US adults were surveyed. The poll measured each athlete’s likability and their marketing influence toward consumers.
He has 5 NASCAR championships, but is Jimmie Johnson really more influential than Tim Tebow (No. 2), or Peyton Manning (No. 3), or Dale Earnhardt Jr (No> 7)? After all, Earnhardt has been voted NASCAR’s popular driver year after year.
I suppose the answer depends on who you ask. Forbes did not say who the 1,100 people were who were polled. Pose the same question to a group of race fans at Talladega and the results could be altogether different.
If influential means being liked and having the ability to represent sponsors and influence purchases then who is NASCAR’s Most Influential Driver?
Jimmie Johnson Gets Points Back
Chad Knaus will not have to serve the 6 race suspension imposed by NASCAR after the No. 48 Chevrolet of Jimmie Johnson failed pre-race inspection for the Daytona 500.
Jimmie Johnson will also get 25 points back that he was docked by NASCAR following the violation.
Knaus had been suspended and fined $100,000 for the incident, while Johnson was penalized with a loss of 25 Championship points.
NASCAR Chief Appellate Officer John Middlebrook heard an appeal by the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team and reversed the penalties imposed by NASCAR.
The penalties were previously unanimously upheld by a NASCAR appeals board, and this was the team’s last chance at overturning the penalty.
Middlebrook is a retired General Motors executive who serves as NASCAR’s version of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. One person with little if any experience officiating races has overturned the findings of NASCAR’s officials and their appeals board.
This decision only serves to make NASCAR look bad, and their rules to look meaningless.
It will only encourage more cheating going forward.
What do you think of the decision?
Here’s a video of President Obama meeting with Jimmie Johnson to honor his 2010 Championship. Do you know why the President waited almost a year after the fact?
Who do you think will be meeting this time next year?
Will Jimmie Johnson Pass Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty
Jimmie Johnson now has 5 NASCAR Championships. Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt are tied with 7 each. Petty and Earnhardt never won more than 2 in a row.
Will Jimmie Johnson equal the record set by Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty? Could he pass the two 7 time champs and win 8 or more?
Iâ€™m taking a quick poll to see what you think â€“ just leave your opinion in the comments below.
I have to admit that I thought it was impossible for Jimmie Johnson to win 5 straight Sprint Cup Championships.
But then again I thought 4 straight was out of the question last year.
“Jimmie, you are a rock star, my friend,” crew chief Chad Knaus told Johnson on the cool down lap. â€œYou have proven it time and time again. And you damn did it today, my friend.â€
Today Jimmie Johnson proved all the doubters wrong by cruising to the championship with a 2nd place finish behind a dominant Carl Edwards in the Ford 400 at Homestead.
“Im just beside myself,” said Johnson as he celebrated with his crew in Victory lane. â€œFour was amazing. Now I have to figure out what the hell to say about winning five of these things. Everybody is going to want to know what it means. I don’t know. It is pretty damn awesome. I can tell you that.â€
Denny Hamlin led the Chase heading into the final showdown. But when he spun his No. 11 Toyota into the infield grass and damaged the front splitter his championship hopes appeared to be over. But Hamlin wasn’t done. His crew repaired the car and he came back to make one more run at Johnson. But the damage to the car was just enough to give Johnson the edge.
“We just had a good car today and we did almost everything that we needed to do,” said Hamlin.”We put ourselves in position to run up front, and we ran up front and you know, in the end, we just got beat there on that last restart and they just out ran us.”
What do you think about Johnson’s 5 straight championships? Who can stop him from getting number six next year, if anyone can?
Jimmie Johnson’s Drive for Five Championships is Alive and Well.
How is it that Jimmie Johnson can be so dominant when NASCAR is so competitive?
The rules are so tight that no one driver should be so prevailing. But Jimmie Johnson always seems to peak at the right time. How does he do it?
Sunday at Dover International Speedwayâ€™s Monster Mile Johnson started from the pole in the AAA 400. He led the most laps and won the race. â€œMaximum pointsâ€ is how crew chief Chad Knaus described it.
According to Johnson it was â€œthe weekend we would dream of, were able to get it with winning the pole, leading the most laps and winning the race.â€
Johnson had little pressure from 2nd place finishing Jeff Burton in the closing laps. Although Burtons lap times were quicker than Johnsons at times Johnson was able to maintain a 2.637 second lead at the checkered flag; in part thanks to a speedy green flag pit stop by the No. 48 crew.
Mid-race A.J. Allmendinger, driving the No. 43 Ford, looked to have the car to beat. But Allmendinger ran over a ten cent washer and cut a tire. He went 2 laps down before rebounding to finish 10th.
â€œWe played it smart,â€ said Jimmie Johnson about the press by Allmendinger.Â â€œHe wasn’t a Chase guy. When he got to me and put pressure on me, I let him by.Â I just need to worry about those 11 other drivers and really about myself.Â Way too early to worry about stuff.Â Come the end of the race, he wasn’t there to have to fight with.â€
The only other serious challenger to the No. 48 was Kyle Busch. Then Busch scraped the wall and lost the handle on his No. 18 Toyota. He was not a contender for the win after that.
The win moved Jimmie Johnson to 2nd in the Sprint Cup point standings â€“ just 35 points behind Denny Hamlin with 8 races to go.
This is the time of the year that Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 crew always seem to bring out the big guns. They seem to pick up the pace when the Sprint Cup is on the line.
According to crew chief Chad Knaus it is the people on the team that make the difference. â€œWe work hard to make sure we have the right people on the team, said Knaus.Â â€œI think we do.Â We’re not perfect by any stretch of the imagination.Â I can promise you, if something goes wrong, something falls short of what their goal is, there’s nobody that feels worse than what that individual does.Â To try to motivate from that point is unnecessary when you got guys like that.â€
Can Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 team pull it all together one more time for a 5th championship? And how will that championship be received by the fans of NASCAR?
Jimmie Johnson Admits That His Goal Was To Wreck Kurt Busch.
It looks like Jimmie Johnson has got his horseshoe back. In the closing laps of Sundayâ€™s Lenox Industrial Tools 301 in New Hampshire Kurt Busch moved race leader Â jimmie Johnson out of the racing groove and passed him for the lead. A roar erupted from the grandstand as Busch began to drive away.
“When we got going on the restart, Kurt knocked me out of the way, and I thought, ‘I don’t care if I win this race or not. I don’t care if I finish this damn thing. Â I am running into him and getting back by him one way or another,” Jimmie Johnson said.
Johnson was not done yet. A few laps later Johnson put the same move on Busch and held on to win the race.
â€œI have to say I was a little shocked,â€ No. 48 Johnson said. I haven’t spoken to him or really seen any video to know.Â If it was his intentions, that’s the first time in nine years racing with him that I have experienced that. It will definitely change the way that I race with him.â€
After the race Kurt Busch said that he didnâ€™t think that Johnson would intentionally wreck him to get the win.
â€œI hate that he felt that I wasn’t going to wreck him because that was my goal was to wreck him,â€ said Jimmie Johnson.Â â€œI usually get caught up in it, so I knew what my thought process was. Wreck his ass.”
The win was Johnsonâ€™s fifth victory in 2010 and 2nd in a row.
Kasey Kahne put on a strong showing for Ford leading 110 laps until suffering an engine failure.
Jack Roush, leader of the Ford contingent, was seen walking away from pit road before the race was over. That was a serious statement. Roush never leaves early. But he had seen enough today.Â His best finishing car was Greg Biffle in 16th place.
Jeff Burton was leading late in the race when a caution flag flew. Burtonâ€™s crew chief made the call to stay out when everyone else pitted for tires. But if Burton had pitted everyone else would have stayed out so he was in a no win situation. Burton quickly lost the lead. Then he was involved in an incident with Kyle Busch that sent Busch for a spin and both of them had to pit for tires.
Dale Earnhardt Jr continued to show steady improvement.Â Junior started 31st and finished 8th. Dale Jr will be in Victory Lane before the end of the year. Maybe as soon as Saturday Night at Daytona.
But itâ€™s what you as a fan thinks that is most important. What do you think about todayâ€™s race?
Photo Courtesy NASCAR Media
Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus have mastered the art of psychological gamesmanship. They are experts at getting inside the hearts and minds of their opponents.
Drivers are more concerned about beating Jimmie Johnson than they are about making their own cars faster.
Johnson enjoys the games. â€œI get caught up in that mind game stuff and find a lot of satisfaction in it,â€ Jimmie Johnson said. â€œI told Chad before the year was over I want to win a lot to frustrate the competitors.
Kurt Busch is concerned
Just look at Kurt Buschâ€™s remarks after losing at Bristol despite dominating the race and leading 278 laps.
â€œI donâ€™t know, Iâ€™d rather lose to any of the 41 cars out there than the 48 car,â€ Busch said
â€œIt’s up to the best of us to knock him off the top,â€ Busch said after losing to Johnson in the closing laps of Sundayâ€™s Food City 500 at Bristol. â€œSo it’s rough. You know, they’ve won three times this year. Not that we need to, deserve to win, it’s just that they are winning every chance they’re given. We just need to position ourselves more to get those wins.â€
Matt Kenseth is worried about Johnson, too. During the spoiler test this week at Charlotte Motor Speedway Kenseth was asked about the upcoming race at Martinsville and Johnsonâ€™s winning record there. â€œHeâ€™s good everywhere,â€ said Kenseth.
What drivers can learn from Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi knows how to play mind games all too well. She called President George Bush a â€œtotal failureâ€ when Bush criticized Congressâ€™s inaction on important legislation.
“God bless him, bless his heart, President of the United States — a total failure, losing all credibility with the American people,â€ said Pelosi.
When Barack Obama was pushing for passage of his Obama Care plan Pelosi urged her colleagues to vote for it. â€œBut we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in itâ€™â€ urged Pelosi.
There are a few NASCAR drivers who can stand to learn a thing or two about mind games from Pelosi.
Chad Knaus does the same thing to other crew chiefs. Heâ€™s been known to walk through the garage on the morning of the race with a rear spring over his shoulder headed to the race car â€“ but never intending to change a thing on the car.
He just wants to get the other crew chiefs talking â€“ to throw them off their game.
When the No. 48 team was invited to participate in a Goodyear tire test late last year many drivers including Greg Biffle were complaining that Johnson was gaining an unfair advantage. Hereâ€™s how Chad Knaus responded to that:
“But as far as sending a message, I hope it does. I hope people talk about it. Like I said earlier, I hope people are worried. I hope people are talking about the fact that we tire tested and it’s wrong. All these people can get wound up about stuff that really doesn’t matter,” said Knaus.
Dale Earnhardt was the master
I havenâ€™t seen anyone this good at psychological racing since Dale Earnhardt. He wasnâ€™t known as The Intimidator just for what happened on the race track.
Once at Talladega when all the other drivers were busy dialing their cars in during practice Dale shook things up with a very simple move. He parked his car in the garage, covered it up, and went fishing.
Dale Earnhardt won 10 Cup races at Talladega.
Earnhardt once struck fear into the hearts of his fellow drivers when he made his famous comment about drivers complaining about the high speeds at Daytona. Essentially, he told them if they were afraid to drive the car they should go home.
So who else in NASCAR is good at psyching out their competitors? What tactics have you seen played out by drivers? Iâ€™d be happy to hear about it in the comments, or feel free to contact me.
Is there any reason for NASCAR to run a race in Martinsville next week?
It seems like Jimmie Johnson wins every time we go there. Johnson has 6 wins at theÂ half- mile Virginia paperclip. His average finish is 5.1.
So far this year Johnson has won 3 of 5 Sprint Cup races. He is the man to beat at Martinsville.
How do Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus do it?
The No. 48 teamâ€™s domination canâ€™t be good for NASCAR â€“ long known for keeping an equal playing field.
You donâ€™t have to look any farther than the grandstands at Bristol to see that. There were 50,000 empty seats on Sunday. And Bristol has been sold out for 55 straight races.
Can anyone beat Jimmie Johnson at Martinsville