Finish Line by Micah Roberts |
And it might perk up his personality
After four races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series we have three drivers that have finished all four races within the top-10 and not surprisingly, all three are in the top-3 in points. Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, and Greg Biffle have held off four-time champ Jimmie Johnson, who is fourth in points, in the early going in his quest to win five straight Cup Championships.
It’s still early, but it is something to be somewhat excited about, especially in today’s NASCAR, or for that matter any era of NASCAR. For some reason NASCAR fans don’t like seeing greatness like we do in other sports.
We’ve cheered in awe with the great individual performances of Roger Federer and Tiger Woods as well as team sports when we marveled at UCLA basketball, the Boston Celtics or New York Islanders dynasties. But for whatever the case may be, we can’t just sit back and watch history unfold before our eyes and watch Jimmie Johnson with amazement at what he’s done.
Nothing is new though. Before they were cool, NASCAR fans booed Darrell Waltrip, Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon because they won too much. While Waltrip and Earnhardt have become cult heroes of sorts, Gordon is finally starting to garner respect at tracks everywhere for all his great accomplishments.
Johnson looks to be the most complete driver thus far with his two wins and will likely win another title, but it’s good to see others being competitive. It’s especially encouraging to see two Fords at the top from Roush Racing after last season’s dive. It’s even more encouraging to see the Childress cars run strong each week after being shut out of the Chase entirely last season.
NASCAR.com posed a question last week attempting to give Johnson a nickname like many of the greats in the sport. Even some of the not-so-greats have nicknames like “Buckshot” Jones, but Johnson still doesn’t have one.
Snoop Dog called Johnson “Double J in the four-eight” during a Super Bowl party, but even that doesn’t have a ring like “Fireball,” “The Intimidator”, or the “The King.” The guy has won an unprecedented four straight titles, doesn’t he deserve a nickname that is becoming of his personality or traits?
Some say that’s just it, he really doesn’t have a personality. He doesn’t show emotion and is always cool under pressure. He’s like a machine who is oblivious to pressure. But those are the traits that could help get him some kind of moniker, but it has to be cool.
The closest I could think of for Johnson would be to call him “The Executive” because the guy is all business and he goes about his business like a corporate executive. Everything he exemplifies has the feel of corporate America. His staff is efficient and lean and rarely makes a mistake and his product is maximized through efficiency which factors in optimum results to the bottom line.
If you put this man in a suit, not a fire suit, he could fill the bill as top executive today. It’s likely not to catch on and the nickname will surely come in the next few years by something he does on the track, but time is running out and if something doesn’t stick soon he may just go down as being “Double J in the four-eight.”
Jeff Gordon commented last week that NASCAR needs a few rivalries to get things going and stir up some excitement among the fans. He offered a few of his own natural thoughts like Tony Stewart and Kyle Busch because they’re both high energy guys who wear their emotions on their sleeves while driving for competing manufacturers.
Gordon has been through the rivalry thing himself with Rusty Wallace and Dale Earnhardt and it fueled the sport to new heights it had never seen. Kyle Busch is a natural with anyone and we’ve seen him tangle with Carl Edwards and Dale Earnhardt Jr. before but it didn’t last despite Busch’s trash talking.
Brad Keselowski has thrust himself into the fire quickly and isn’t making many friends. His battle with Denny Hamlin last year in the Nationwide series has spilled over into the Cup series and last week he and Edwards got into it pretty good. Keselowski bumped Edwards out of the race early in Atlanta. After Edwards patched his car up and got back on the track, he returned the favor sending Keselowski into the wall and eventually turning him upside down.
The pair have rattled each other before in the Cup series with Keselowski being the one that sent Edwards flipping at Talladega on the last lap of Keselowski’s dramatic win last season. Keselowski has a lot to prove before anyone can get excited, meaning he needs to win some more, but he definitely has the moxie to carry some smack.
All three NASCAR series are off this week before returning at Bristol.
Question? Comment? E-mail me at: Micah Roberts