The NASCAR industry has a list of its all-time greatest drivers that includes names like Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, Bobby Allison, Cale Yarborough, and David Pearson but the most recent debate is whether or not Jimmie Johnson should be included on that list.
With Johnson winning his sixth Championship just over a week ago, sports analysts, fellow athletes and fans started calling him the greatest driver ever. But is he really?
Johnson did something that no driver has ever done before when he won five straight championships from 2006 to 2010. After a two-year hiatus, he is back on top in 2013 after a hard-fought battle with Matt Kenseth during the Chase. Hoisting up that Sprint Cup Championship trophy with his daughter Evie by his side, this win meant more to Johnson than he realized.
With six championships under his belt, Johnson is just one away from tying the greats of Petty and Earnhardt, and two away from winning the most championships…ever. Johnson revealed this season that his ultimate goal is to surpass the greats.
I took to Facebook and Twitter on m personal pages to see where other NASCAR fans ranked Jimmie Johnson among the greatest drivers:
Anita: 5 Championships in a row demand he be on the list….I’m not familiar enough with past drivers to say the BEST.
Aaron: Is he a great one? oh yea! Is he the greatest of all time? NO! Can’t compare to different era’s. Sport is so much different.
Robert: Yes, he needs to be on the list just think 6 championship in 8 years.
Justin: Yes, he is the greatest driver ever. Am I a bit biased, yes maybe, but the numbers don’t lie. 66 wins in 12 full seasons. Only Richard Petty had more in his first 12 seasons. Johnson has won 6 championships in 8 seasons, a feat no one else has accomplished. Jimmie is also on pace to reach 100 wins in 6 more seasons at his current wins per season average. Plus Johnson has won championships in 3 different generations of race cars.
Ace: Jimmie Johnson is a great driver in a sport that great drivers need a ride with unlimited funding and a superior team to make it all happen. There have been many great drivers over the years who never had all the other resources that JJ has. That being said, this is a very hard question to answer honestly and knowingly.
Alicia: I do believe he has already been named one of the greatest drivers. Well deserved.
Ryan: One of the greatest? Yes. The greatest? Not yet. Drivers like Earnhardt Gordon Petty Waltrip rank ahead as far as stats go.
Geoff: Jimmie is dominating the competition in an age of unprecedented parity in the sport. He is not human, and is the greatest driver EVER. Better than Petty and Earnhardt.
Lee: One of them, perhaps, but NOT the greatest.
Donte: No, the King is first, but Johnson is a close second. It’s the 200 wins that will keep the King on top, IMO. Then it’s Johnson, Earnhardt, Pearson, Gordon, Waltrip, etc….
RD: I’m a JG fan, but Jimmie I think will be at the top of the list by the time he hangs up his gloves. Lots of complaining about him but to borrow words from the sage of pro wrestling, Ric Flare, “if you want to be the man you gotta beat the man.” At least in the Chase Era He’s the man.
Stephen: No. deserves to be on the list. hes top 5 at this point
As you can see, opinions vary as far as where he ranks among NASCARs greatest drivers but most agree, he deserves to be on the list. Jimmie Johnson, along with Crew Chief Chad Knaus, will go down in history as one of the greatest duos in all of sports once they hang up their firesuits. It is impossible to compare Johnson with drivers like Petty, Earnhardt and Pearson because the racing and technology were vastly different then then it is now.
For now, Johnson will continue his quest for eight Championships as the series moves into the 2014 season. Will he get to eight? I have no doubt in my mind that he will and heck, he might even go past that.
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