Posted on: November 15, 2008 2:10 pm
Several media members have tried to generate some confrontation between Sprint Cup championship contenders Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards. Those attempts have failed. There is nothing but respect for each other from the two drivers, which many believe makes for bad copy. If Johnson hated Edwards or vice versa, the villain-hero story line would be in play. Having Kyle Busch or Tony Stewart in the mix might stir that up, but the Johnson-Edwards relationship is based on nothing but high regard for the other. "I’m a fan of racing, and Carl has raced anything and everything,” Johnson said of his title combatant. “I respect what he’s done in all types of vehicles and enjoy watching him on Saturday in the Nationwide race and stuff.” "Man, we just kind of sat there on the steps, and we didn’t really have anybody else to talk to,” Edwards remembers of his first encounter with Johnson when they were just starting out in NASCAR and in attendance at a pre-season corporate function. “It was kind of cool. He was a really nice guy, and I thought, ‘Man, that’s a cool guy. It’s neat to see somebody like that succeed.’” I don't think you need drivers hating each other for good competition and racing. In fact, respect - like what we saw in Friday night's Craftsman Truck Series championship-deciding race between Johnny Benson and Ron Hornaday, might also be a better ingredient for exciting on-track action. If it comes down to racing for position side-by-side in Sunday's finale, neither Edwards or Johnson will have the inclination to lean on the other just for the sake of making contact. Sportsmanship in professional sports. What a concept.
Posted on: November 2, 2008 11:52 am
Edited on: November 2, 2008 11:54 am
As Jimmie Johnson speeds away to his third straight Sprint Cup title, the topic of conversation in the Texas Motor Speedway garage area has focused on two things this weekend - the Chase format and the economy.
Despite Jack Roush's plea last week that each Chase driver get a mulligan during the ten race playoff schedule, throwing out his worst finish of the stretch, most every other driver is in favor of leaving the format alone.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. sounded off about it during his media session with Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Jeff Burton, Kevin Harvick and others chiming in with similar feelings.
NASCAR should not tinker with a format that is still in its infancy at five years old and making a knee jerk reaction because this year's title is going to be a landslide that would make Barack Obama or John McCain jealous would be dead wrong.
There is a very good chance Johnson will have the thing wrapped up before Homestead, which brings us to the other hot issue being discussed this weekend.
If there is no reason to come to Homestead with the championship no longer on the line, will fans cancel their trips and save thousands of dollars in airline, hotel and other travel costs?
There will be empty seats in Texas on Sunday, not anything like the ghost town we saw in Atlanta last week thankfully, and next week's stop in Phoenix is also not a sell out.
Homestead still has plenty of tickets available that will sit in a neat pile in the track ticket office if as expected, Johnson takes the drama out of the final event and thousands of fans decide to stay home.
We're already seeing several media members bow out of covering the series on a week-in and week-out basis because of budget woes and travel costs. How many outlets will staff that final race if there really isn't a story to tell?
Johnson isn't doing anything wrong and will win his record-setting championship by following the rules and doing a better job than any other driver or team.
But the ramifications of his runaway title will have major implications.