I said a little prayer to God before the race - "if You couldn't see your way clear to let Hillary win the election, at least, let Jimmie claim the championship. Thank you."
Through most of the race, it seemed as if He wasn't paying attention. Jimmie had arguably the slowest of the four contending cars, with Kyle Larson having the best one of all. The 48 had to start at the rear of the field and flew up to the top five but then, while Carl, Joey and Kyle played around up front, Jimmie slogged along in 6th through 10th, well behind the other three.
"Well," I sighed to my dog and three cats, "it looks like the Drive for Se7en is going to go on for at least another year." They all gave me a sympathetic look, not that they cared about the race, but they could tell from my tone of voice that I was sad.
And then, suddenly, everything changed. Carl and Joey got into it and Carl was done. Even wanting Jimmie to win, I found that rather heart-breaking. Carl looked to be the favorite before that wreck happened. I didn't think anyone did anything wrong, they were both simply giving it all they had....that's what you do when you're going for a championship. And I'll admit that I had a bit of a piss-off toward Carl when he was at Roush. He seemed to think he was a cut above his teammates and his trick of coming back on the track after he wrecked to drive Brad into the fence was a low-life move in my eyes. But he seems to have changed since going to JGR and he certainly was a class act at Homestead, going up to Joey's pit box to wish that team well, in spite of his own disappointment.
When they went back to racing after the last caution, Jimmie was in front with Kyle Larson. I didn't think he'd be able to pass Kyle, who'd been terrific on restarts all night, but he didn't have to. He only had to finish ahead of Kyle B and Joey. But sheer willpower seem to push him ahead and when he cleared Kyle L and set sail, I knew he had it. He won his 80th race, knocked another first off his list of tracks he taken a trophy from with Homestead, winning both he race and the championship. My friend, Kathy, who lives about 45 miles from me swore she could here me screaming from there.
Ever since I've been a Jimmie Johnson fan, I've had to fight with the haters. There didn't seem to be so many of them this time. Most people seemed genuinely happy to have seen history made. You can put down a driver as much as you want but you can't really deny the talent that it takes to win seven championships. And anyway, the history books don't record comments, only achievements and so JJ joins the ranks of legends - Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt.
The other championship races were great too. It was nice to see Johnny Sauter finally pull it off in the truck series. He's definitely paid his dues over the years.
The Xfinity race was kind of a cluster at the end. People wondered why Cole Whitt's crew chief left him out on old tires but I heard it was because they didn't have anymore tires. Still, he should have pulled to the bottom and let the contenders pass him. Who knows what would have happened if he'd done that but it doesn't matter now. Daniel Suarez prevailed and that appears to have been a popular win. I saw some of the celebration in Mexico and they were beside themselves with joy seeing their hero become the first international NASCAR champion.
Now we wait....for the banquet in Las Vegas and to learn who the new Cup sponsor will be and to see where Greg Biffle lands and to look forward to Junior's return to Daytona, and, and, and.....
Giving it your all is something you should be doing as a racer whether you're going for a Championship or whether you're going for 10th in points, or whether you're in the Championship if you don't do horribly. I can't stand this "Remember the big picture. Don't push too hard." mentality they have these days. I love the competition, and i really like the new Chase format.
I frequent the comment sections on nascar.com. The haters are there. "OF COURSE there was a late-race caution! NASCAR had to do something to make sure the crap driver Johnson won his 7th title." (Of course, they don't understand the irony of them saying "crap driver winning 7th title.") I'm surprised a Toyota didn't win, to be honest. I saw numerous times during the season and The Chase where it looked like the fix was in (just like in the election) for a Toyota, probably Truex. NASCAR announces new rules for The Chase regarding LIS failures and three days later Truex's car fails, yet no penalties per the new rule. Next week, Truex fails LIS again, and still no penalties. I was actually a little surprised they didn't halt the race and allow his team to change the engine when his blew, but I guess that would have made the favoritism glaringly obvious. NASCAR announces last year that in order to qualify to compete for the title, you must enter and start every points race. Then Kyle breaks his leg and foot. "Well, no, we didn't really mean that. You have to finish in the top 30 and have at least 1 win in order to compete for the title. (Psst, Toyota, thanks for the $400 million you gave us to spruce up Daytona man.)" And then Kyle goes and wins several races, some questionably. And yes, I felt the same way when they allowed Tony to compete, but was able to justify that better than Kyle because he had announced his retirement and Tony competing for a Championship in his last active full season as a driver would and was a big draw for fans.
there is no "big picture" in nascar anymore.its been broken down into 3,3 race rounds with a small one race championship deciding event.
and if there was a "big picture" nascar would edit it and photo chop it every week...
Ahhh. That must be why the crew chiefs and spotters were telling their drivers without wins throughout the Chase to be careful and remember the big picture. "Remember, we're in if we don't wreck. Don't push the issue too much. Big picture dude." Even Schrub's crew chief and spotter were saying it.
You're one of those "fans" that is constantly saying how terrible NASCAR is and how you're never going to a race again and never watching a race again, but yet, come Monday, there you are commenting about it; usually commenting about how terrible you thought it was.
whoa, mike,,,tombo has a right to his opinion also,,,we all see nascar in a different way perhaps, but we do try to get along on this site w/o being too abrasive to others,,,,i may not agree with your politics or your driver choices either,,,but u have a right to your choices,,we try to share info, enjoy the racing, and joke around a bit,,,we r mostly a friendly group,,,,
Yes he is. And all I did was express my opinion.
Yep. My main reason to be here is to try and get the pulse of a hopefully large portion of the NASCAR fan base for my writing.
Yes, we all have completely different ideas about NASCAR. I disagree with some of my best NASCAR friends! I like the Chase but not the elimination aspect of it where it all comes down to one race. I hated all the JGR cars hanging in the back at Talladega but I understood why they did it. I sometimes hate the dynasty aspect of it and tend to root for drivers like Kyle Larson who have no family connections. On the other hand, I really like Chase Elliott so I'm not consistent in some of my views!
I can tell you the elimination aspect of it is something that was decided by NASCAR based upon Fan Council input.
Other than Junior, Larson, and Harvick, I'm a California driver fan since I'm a California boy. I kinda like Suárez in XFINITY because my father's side of the family is Mexican and I have relatives in Mexico.
yes, vicki,,,I hold no "stick to the main team" feelings either,,,i like, and cheer for, as u know, chase Elliott...and respect the other hms drivers, but am not just a hendrick fan, in particular. i also like kyle Larson, ryan blaney, erik jones, Daniel suarez, William Bryant, kyle busch, and oh my golly, so many more,,no hate for any of the drivers,,they make it interesting with all their different personalities.. I do not like the elimination aspect of the chase, but I admit, it does make it exciting,,
but, I started watching around 2000,,and I liked the true measurement of a champion, to be good all year, and was very reluctant to accept the chase,,but it is here and it will stay, so nothing to do but accept it and move on and enjoy the heck out of what we have now,,and it makes every race truly exciting,,
The Fan Council didn't like the idea that someone who never won a single race all year could be crowned champion. This way, drivers have to take chances to have a better chance at qualifying for The Chase.
I figure some people like things I don't like and some people don't like things I like but I'm one among millions so my opinion doesn't mean that much. I can either accept things the way they are and love it as it is or go find something I like better. At one time, that would have been horse racing but when I moved to Indiana, it was impossible to follow those races. Never cared for stick and ball sports. Then I found NASCAR (that was 2008) and have been a NASCAR fan ever since.