By admin | December 28, 2009
By Richard Allen
Since the drop of the checkered flag at the Miami-Homestead Speedway in November much writing has been done to review the major stories of the 2009 NASCAR season. With that said, over the next several days this website will attempt to take a look ahead into 2010 and ponder the potentially big stories that could come from the year ahead.
At the beginning of this yearâ€™s Chase for the Championship a friend of mine asked me who I considered the favorite to win the title. My response to that was, â€œWhy pick anyone other than Jimmie Johnson?â€
Well, going into the 2010 season my response to a similar question would have to be the same as in 2009.
Johnson and his Hendrick Motorsports team have everything going for them heading into the upcoming season. The driver has shown himself to be the best at scoring points when it matters most under this championship system. Crew chief Chad Knaus is the best in the business and the two of them have proven to be the best combination this sport has seen in many years, if not ever.
HMS provides the best equipment in the NASCAR garage. A 1-2-3 finish in the 2009 Sprint Cup standings is all the proof needed to show that their chassis, body and engine combination is tops in the sport.
In 2010, there will be a number of contenders but how could anyone other than Jimmie Johnson be considered the favorite for the title going into the season? For those who would say that the streak has to end sometime, that has been said now for the past two seasons. Beating Johnson and the #48 team will not come from luck or some hocus-pocus but from actually beating them at the game they have clearly mastered. That will be easier said than done.
So, in 2010 look for the final headline of the season to read, â€˜Johnson wins fifth consecutive titleâ€™.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
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