To most NASCAR fans, the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season has been quite an entertaining one. Drivers that have not done well in the past are suddenly contending for wins, and those who have been contending for wins are no longer winning. It’s amazing how much difference one year can make on any NASCAR team, just ask Jimmie Johnson.
Already with one win, Johnson hopes to keep his streak of championships alive. Johnson knows the competition has increased, and the 48 squad has to remain on the top of their game if they plan on repeating come chase time. Currently sitting in second, Johnson is in a prime spot to do just that again.
Even though Johnson has won five straight championships, NASCAR fans always seem to find someone to blame and in this case it is Johnson. NASCAR knew they had to make a change to the point standings to keep their fan base happy, and that they did in 2011. The new points formula rewards those who are consistent, not necessarily winning week in and week out (which contradicts why NASCAR chose to go the the “chase” format after Kenseth’s consistent season, winning the championship in 2003). If Johnson can continue to muster up top-five’s and top-ten’s, he should have no problem making the chase.
One thing that may have Johnson a little “rattled”, the Roush camp is back on top of the NASCAR world. Already with three wins, 14 top-five’s, and 26 top-ten’s, Jack Roush is hoping to bring home another championship (has not had one since Kenseth won it in 2003).
The FR9 engines that RFR is using is also playing towards their advantage. With increased horse power and durability, other manufactures can’t keep up with what Ford has created. From super-speedway’s to intermediate track’s, Ford has every program down to a science, which worries other drivers from other teams.
But does any of this really matter? Johnson is a five time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, who knows exactly what to do come chase time. We can continue to debate whether Johnson still has “it” this season, but one will not know until we arrive in Miami. So is Johnson on top of NASCAR again? It sure seems that way, just with a little competition mixed in.
2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Season Results: (15 out of 36 weeks)
Wins- 1 (Talladega)- 7.1%
Top-five’s- 5 (Phoenix, Bristol, Fontana, Talladega, Pocono)- 35.7%
Top-ten’s- 9 (Phoenix, Bristol, Fontana, Texas, Talladega, Richmond, Dover, Kansas, Pocono)- 64.3%