Something happened Sunday, something that hadn’t happened in quite a while. By finishing 14th in the Kobalt Tools 500 at Phoenix International Raceway, Jimmie Johnson ensured that he wouldn’t win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title for the first time in six years.
It’s probably good for the sport that either Carl Edwards, who currently leads the Sprint Cup standings or the current No. 2 driver in the standings, Tony Stewart will be standing atop the podium when the season ends this coming weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida, just in terms of pure variety and keeping fans interested. But you’ve also got to hand it to Johnson for managing to literally stay on top of the sport for so long.
Think about it, what real equivalents are there in today’s sports to Johnson’s feat of combined excellence and longevity? No team has ever won more than two Super Bowls in a row, only the Los Angeles Lakers won two or more consecutive NBA titles since the beginning of the current millenium.
No team has won back to back World Series since the New York Yankees won three in a row from 1998 to 2000 and came up just short in 2001.
Actually, the 2008-2009 Philadelphia Phillies are the only team since then to even win two straight league pennants. No NHL team has won back to back Stanley Cups since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 and 1998.
And yet Jimmie Johnson won five straight season titles on NASCAR’S highest circuit. Well done.