The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series seemingly has everything for the fans this year; Dale Earnhardt Jr. has won, seven different faces have visited Victory Lane, and there have been a mirage of storylines to talk about during the week.
One of those talking points? The empty ‘win’ column for a certain six-time champion.
Jimmie Johnson is a collected guy and a reliable driver. You can bet every weekend that he would win the race, and you would have a solid chance at striking gold. His talent is undebatable; six championships, remember?
Despite all this, the No. 48 team has struck nothing but dirt. This borderline-phenomenon has everyone raising their eyebrows, yet the fans are lifting their glasses. It’s easy to see that Johnson’s issues aren’t bothering them.
Someone better tell them that the party may be over soon.
Numbers from the first practice session at Darlington Raceway placed the reigning champion third on the charts, with the second-best 10 consecutive lap average. The pressure to win isn’t being ignored, and it’s only fueling Johnson’s fire.
Although a win can never be guaranteed, it seems to be in his sights. The achievement won’t be reached without a few missteps; Johnson was cruising towards a possible win at Auto Club Speedway when he became the victim of tire issues a few weeks ago, which plagued others as well. Breaking composure, he spoke about his anger with Goodyear and called on them to do something. The outlandish behavior goes along with his season for sure.
Though The Lady in Black is a fickle character, Johnson’s stats at the venue are cause for hope; three wins, eight top 5s, and 11 top 10s show his strengths at Darlington. He also averages an 8.8 finish. This lady has been sweet to him over the years, and that may play in his favor.
Johnson’s slightly slump helps set 2014 apart from seasons past, yet there’s no doubt Darlington Raceway could aid him in turning things around.