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Doesn’t look like Johnson and Knaus were just winging it

By admin | May 23, 2010

By Richard Allen

After a couple of not so Jimmie Johnson like performances over the last few weeks some racing followers began to speculate that the four time consecutive champion had lost his edge after NASCAR removed the rear wing from the Car of Tomorrow and replaced it with a blade spoiler.

Johnson ran poorly at Darlington and eventually ended his night with a hard crash. That resulted in a 36th place finish after not leading a single lap.

The Darlington run came on the heels of a 31st place finish in Talladega and a 10th in Richmond. Johnson crashed in Talladega and was never a real contender for the win in Richmond.

Could it have been that crew chief Chad Knaus and his driver had lost their edge when that wing went away?

Well, the last two weeks have gone a long way toward ending that talk. In Dover, Johnson led a dominating 225 laps of the 400 lap event. He finished 16th after being punished for speeding on pit road during the last pit stop of the day. The #48 car looked like a sure winner until that penalty.

On Saturday in the Sprint All Star Race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a track on which Johnson has had tremendous success, the Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet looked very much like its old self again by leading big chunks of the race.

A pit stop just before the final ten lap segment put Johnson back to 3rd place. From there, as is so often the case, cars were unable to make many moves in the so called ‘dirty air’ which prevented him from moving to the front. Eventually, the driver of the Lowe’s car would spin through the infield grass and drop from contention. However, no one left CMS thinking the Johnson/Knaus team had lost their edge.

So no, Jimmie Johnson was not just winging it. He has looked every bit as strong over the last two weeks with the spoiler as he ever did with the wing. The only difference could be that his horseshoe may have fallen out of his… well, you know.

Still, look for this team to dominate in the 600 miler on Memorial Day weekend.

Follow @RacingWithRich on twitter.

Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly columns appear in The Mountain Press and The Knoxville Journal.

Topics: Articles |

9 Responses to “Doesn’t look like Johnson and Knaus were just winging it”

  1. Brainless Francy Says:
    May 23rd, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    It looks to me like the 48 car is very much on edge after the change form wing to spoiler, especially at the larger faster tracks. (see Texas & Charlotte). These ultra loose setups are fast but they can bite you hard. After watching Texas it seems Jimmie (ie not y) Johnson doesn’t like when another driver takes advantage and gets him loose, What a baby. All the drivers out there should take note of the way that car is set up and race him hard because he can’t seem to handle it when they do and he loses his composure. Jimmie the S.T.D. (he just won’t go away)

  2. 61 starliner Says:
    May 24th, 2010 at 9:24 am

    The name Brainless Francy does say it all. After your assessment of Johnson, it’s easy to see why they call you brainless.
    You don,t win 4 consecutive championships, win more races in less starts than any other driver except Petty, and lead laps in every race because you lose composure when someone races you. I think they should change your name to Moron Brainless Francy

  3. Kevin Says:
    May 24th, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    Johnson won more races in less starts than any other driver except Petty? That would be news to Jeff Gordon, who won 58 races in his first 303 starts, compared to Johnson’s 50. David Pearson also had 51 wins in his first 303 starts.

  4. Bill B Says:
    May 24th, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    Perhaps Johnson hasn’t lost his edge but it looks like he’s definitely lost that horseshoe up his arse. At least for a while.

  5. gopapa Says:
    May 24th, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    @Brainless - Don’t forget that Goodyear has been bringing different tires to most tracks every week this year. The drivers I’ve heard interviewed say they don’t feel much difference at all, if at all, between the wing and the blade.

  6. Charles Says:
    May 24th, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    In this race I think that it was a real shock to Johnson and Chad and alot of fans for Busch to outrun them at the end! I think Johnson thought he had it won!

    I mean Busch hit the wall twice and was seemly out of this race! And all of a sudden he found new strength and totally outran them at the end! That was a shocker!

    Also I dont think it was because Johnson started third in the restart, he never seemed to have had problems getting to the front before!

    Its seems when Johnson and Jeff Gordon have to battle cars of their equal, they dont always win!!!!

  7. gopapa Says:
    May 24th, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    @Charles- Don’t forget how many cars Busch took out on that restart though. A lot of good cars were not there to race him because he ran up Jamie Mac’s rear bumper and started that wreck.

  8. Charles Says:
    May 24th, 2010 at 7:16 pm


    The main car that he had to beat was Johnson, Johnson had dominated the previous segment and by having only few cars left, made a good comparsion of how strong Kurt was compared to Jimmy!!!!!!!!!

  9. mkrcr Says:
    May 25th, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    Just keep the kid gloves off and pressure JJ. That is the way to beat the 48. If you run him hard the mistakes will continue to mount which will build the pressure even more. To heck with learning Chad’s secrets, just keep turning up the fire on the four time chumpion.