Blog Entry

Jimmie Johnson's title run is over

Posted on: October 26, 2011 12:46 pm
Edited on: October 26, 2011 12:53 pm
By Pete Pistone

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And then there were five…..

NASCAR’s “Dream Chase” has turned into a nightmare for more than half of the field through the first six races of the playoffs. 

As most predicted last week’s stop in Talladega provided a major jolt to the standings and as the series heads to tiny Martinsville Speedway this Sunday there are five drivers legitimately left in the championship race. 

Jimmie Johnson is not one of them.

Just 26 points separate Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Tony Stewart and Kevin Harvick, as the Chase moves toward race number seven. 

Johnson sits a distant seventh and fifty points off the pace. 

The run for a sixth straight title was put in major jeopardy in Talladega after a strategy to hang out in the back of the field with Hendrick teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. and draft to the front in the final stages backfired. 

The pair ran out of time and waited too long to make their move for the lead giving Johnson a 26th place finish and effectively ending his bid for championship number six. 

Quite frankly Johnson would need a miracle to find his way back into the title fight. 

For the record, Johnson defended the Talladega strategy even if it didn’t quite work out the way he’d anticipated and blamed circumstances for the outcome rather than poor planning. 

“We planned our strategy like we had hoped to,” Johnson said. “And on that last restart at the end; we had some issues with my car overheating. That last caution that came out I got some trash and grass and stuff on the grill of the car. We were out of sequence the way we were lined up. 

“I was going to push Junior and I had to be in the lead the way we had the debris on the grill. And then as we went to make our switch, the pack was organized and with the green-white-checkered situation, there’s not a lot of time to get organized and we lost our momentum there and got to the outside and kind of stalled out up on the top and finished far worse than we had hoped to.”

Johnson also didn’t concede the championship either and despite the monumental challenge he now faces hasn’t given up in the quest to add to his history-making run. 

“We’ve just got to keep fighting and keep working on getting every point we can at every race,” Johnson said. “We have no clue what’s going to happen to all the Chase drivers and I want to finish as high as I possibly can in the Chase. That does mean the championship.” 

Johnson’s attitude is to be admired but the reality of the situation is too much to overcome. 

Under the old point system that was used before this year’s simpler 43-1 distribution plan, Johnson would be just about 141 markers out of the lead. He did come back from 146 back with five races to go in his 2006 march to the title and followed that up in 2007 when he won four straight races inside the final five. 

But even if he were to go on a similar hot streak this season he’d need six others currently ahead of him in the championship picture to all falter down the stretch. 

It’s a possibility for one or two of them to have difficulties in the next four race but probably wishful thinking that all six will self-destruct even for the most ardent Johnson fan. 

However some of Johnson’s competitors aren’t ready to wave the white flag for the 48 team just yet. 

"Anything is possible," said Hendrick teammate Jeff Gordon. "If you're a good enough team, then it's possible, and that's what makes them so dangerous. They are capable of pulling those types of finishes together when you might not expect it. There are a couple of other teams out there that are capable of doing that as well. You can't count anybody out yet." 

Even the man on top of the heap isn’t ruling anything out remembering Johnson’s impossible come back in 2006. 

"It is possible," said Edwards, who finished 11th at Talladega and was able to stretch his lead to fourteen over second place Kenseth. "I feel like we have had a run like that the last five races, but not as good as that run. It is so competitive right now.

“I think it will be more difficult for someone to have that blistering run where they knock off four or five top-threes or -fours in a row, but it is possible. The problem is, it is possible for six or eight guys to do it. So it comes down to circumstance and luck and strategy. I hope we are the guys that can do that, but I believe it is more competitive now. I will just leave it at that."

Johnson has been nothing short of spectacular throughout his five year reign as NASCAR champion. But as Halloween weekend approaches even he won’t be able to bring this year’s title hopes back from the grave. 

For more NASCAR news, rumors and analysis, follow @ppistone on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed. 

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Category: Auto Racing

Since: Aug 13, 2007
Posted on: October 30, 2011 1:36 am

Jimmie Johnson's title run is over

;     &nbs
p;     &nb

Since: Aug 15, 2006
Posted on: October 28, 2011 3:25 pm

Jimmie Johnson's title run is over

Come on Pete, you disappoint me.  you throw down a gaulent and when I show you I beat you to the punch about MWR you can at least acknowledge it. 

I acknowledged you wrote and article and I also let you know it was off the main page prior to me seeing this article. 

Again, you don't condem, you laugh about NASCAR turning their backs on HMS and then try to scold others. 

Your better than that Pete aren't you?

Since: Feb 13, 2007
Posted on: October 27, 2011 11:06 pm

Jimmie Johnson's title run is over

Except no modern driver could handle the cars the big boys of the past did let alone Jimmie. Jimmie Johnson has won his titles due to him being number 1 in the Hendricks garage and NASCAR's pro-Chevy rules packages. The fact is he has had more money and time invested into his cars then any other cars in his own stable (Hendricks) let alone any driver in the sport's history. If Jimmie drove in the 60s and 70s he would be a mid packer at best. If you put Robby Gordon in those cars HE would have 5 titles in a row. If you put Jimmie in Robby Gordon's car, he wouldn't of even cracked the top 35 in any race in his career.

Since: Aug 19, 2007
Posted on: October 27, 2011 9:30 pm

Jimmie Johnson's title run is over

Even if his run is over, how many can repeat what he did in the last 5? NONE...that feat may never be duplicated. Not even the big boys from past years can say they did what Jimmie has done. No disrespect, but if Jimmie Johnson is the best this sport has to offer, then that's not very exciting. Jimmie is purely the best the sport has to offer. Yeah, he may be done this year, but he will pass all legends of the past in championships before he is done. Maybe then, a true KING of the modern age will be annointed. No disrespect Mr. Petty. No one can take his place,except maybe Jimmie.

Since: Apr 11, 2007
Posted on: October 27, 2011 2:26 pm

Jimmie Johnson's title run is over

If I'm not mistaken, no one but JJ has ever won 5 consecutive championships.

You are not mistaken.  Of course, had drivers from years past had to run the Chase format, who knows what might have happened... 

Since: Aug 15, 2006
Posted on: October 27, 2011 1:48 pm

Jimmie Johnson's title run is over

Pete,  I forgot to add, you can leave your apologizes here or on one of the threads I started about Mikeys Penalties.Tongue outCoolInnocent

You see Pete, I am a big MWR fan and I don't mind people knowing it,  However, I call it right down the middle,  If he screws up, I'm the first to say either something is fishy or he deserves to be fined.  How many others do that with their favorites? 

Since: Oct 7, 2011
Posted on: October 27, 2011 1:27 pm

Jimmie Johnson's title run is over

The real sign of a true champion will be how Jimmy handles this after not winning the title and if it affects his relationship with his crew chief. We have all seen Jimmy as the Champ and life is always awesome on top but know we will see Jimmy (still a great driver) as just another competitor coming up short while the spotlight is on someone else. If Jimmy is a true class act and I think he is he will not act like a sore loser and come back stronger next year. I can only hope JR is learning something here and he can bring home the CUP soon.

Since: Dec 15, 2007
Posted on: October 27, 2011 11:58 am

Jimmie Johnson's title run is over

I really do hope JJ's title run is over.  It is boring to see the same name on the top, especially when that driver was not solid throughout the year.  It is time to see a Ford in the championship hunt, and I am pleased to see at least two good chances there.

You must applaud what JJ has done over the past 5 years.  This isn't to say that he wasn't a champion for the past 5 years, but that definition really doesn't fit this year. 

Since: Aug 15, 2006
Posted on: October 27, 2011 11:49 am

Jimmie Johnson's title run is over

Pete here are my comments about MWR and the windshields found to be illegal:

Also Pete it is you that needs glasses too.  As I wrote in my reponse to you the following:

This was stated over the radio and not even NASCAR tried to inspect the car after the race.  NASCAR came down hard on MWR, as they should,

One last note Pete,  I noticed this article around 7:49 PM the blog you wrote was not listed on the drop down when you clicked on NASCAR and It still isn't.  Amazing you wrote the blog but hid it so most people won't see it.  Nice Job, Innocent

Since: Jan 20, 2010
Posted on: October 27, 2011 11:40 am

Jimmie Johnson's title run is over

Also MikeyFan, curious as to your comments on the MWR windshields and NASCAR's fines and penalties in response?

Pete Pistone 

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