And all week I've heard and read a variation of the question: is this good for racing?
Allow me to answer that with another question: Why are we only worried about this now?
How neurotic can we get about this sport? Johnson isn't just one of the best drivers in the game today. He's one of the best -- if not
To be sure, NASCAR brought some of this anxiety on itself, claiming that its gigantic niche was on par with the mass appeal of the NFL. I've always thought NASCAR was more like hockey -- only bigger. The axiom in the NHL was that there are 18,000 hockey fans in just about every city in the league, and they all go to every game every night. That's always seemed to me an apt analogy for racing, which has
So the sport is what it is -- and that's pretty much what it has always been. I've been told as much this season by such all-time greats as Petty and
If there's a "solution" to this non-problem, perhaps it lies in a rejiggering of the Cup schedule. Just as the PGA Tour started Tiger-proofing its courses a few years ago, maybe NASCAR should think about a Johnson-proof Chase. Slip a couple of road courses in there, and maybe one visit each to Talladega and Daytona. If you want to get really dirty, maybe try a race at Bristol, where Johnson has never won. If any driver in the sport can be said to have a home-field advantage at this point, it's Johnson on the 10 tracks that make up the Chase. He loves them.
Just don't tell me that he's bad for the sport, okay? Because I just don't think people would have made that argument about, say,
Nothing too special here, right? But if you watch to the end, you'll see Edwards gimping his way off the bus/boat at the conclusion of the trip. Wonder if he'd be pulling stunts like this if he was fighting JJ for a Cup championship. I think not.
Oh, and Carl -- if there's no hug at the end of our next interview, I'm going to feel slighted.