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Anyone else see the irony in Johnson’s cries of a NASCAR conspiracy against him?

By admin | April 5, 2011

By Richard Allen

The term irony is often used to represent a situation in which there has been a twist in the literal meaning of something. For example, it would be ironic for a person who has received favorable rulings from a sanctioning body in the past to complain when that body has ruled against him in some way.

For five consecutive years Jimmie Johnson has won the Sprint Cup championship and for five consecutive years at least some fans have claimed that he has been able to do so because of favorable rulings handed down from NASCAR to his Hendrick Motorsports team. Whether true or not, there are those who argue that Johnson is not punished for infractions when others are. Perception is more important than truth in most cases.

In Martinsville on Sunday, Johnson was ticketed for speeding on pit road by NASCAR officials. The penalty for such is being made to start at the rear of the field on the restart after a caution or being made to pass through the pits at pit road speed if the infraction occurs during a green flag pit stop. In this particular case, the #48 car was sent to the rear on the restart after the final pit stop of the day which effectively ended any chance of winning Johnson may have had.

Mind you, I am not saying I think Johnson gets favorable treatment from NASCAR. I am saying that I hear that often from race fans I talk to and I read it often in the comments section of blogs such as this. I am also not saying that Johnson did or didn’t speed on pit road in Martinsville.

Johnson initially had very definite thoughts on the matter. “I wasn’t speeding,” Johnson declared. “They didn’t like how it looked. The way I managed my timing lines. There is just no way. People will say whatever. But with the math and the way we know our timing lines, there is just no way. You accelerate real hard through your timing zone.

“A lot of guys get dinged for that,” he continued. “I’ve been dinged a couple of different times. Usually you get dinged when you pass someone or break the plane of the car in front of you. With no one there, I accelerated like I always do, so from my mark, there is just no way. There is just no way.”

Over the team’s in-car radio after the penalty was called crew chief Chad Knaus concurred with Johnson, even going so far as to imply that NASCAR may have had it in for his team. “You know the deal,” said Knaus. “They’re just pissed because…you know why.”


For the record, I believe a number of teams, not just Hendrick, but also Roush, Childress and Gibbs receive treatment that is somewhat unbalanced in comparison to the lesser teams. Quite possibly, Johnson has been given a few breaks along the way over the past five seasons. But at the same time, drivers from each of the four power teams have also been given breaks that others might not receive.

And more, my suspicion is that Johnson was speeding on Sunday. The #48 team may have found a way to outsmart themselves in regard to their calculations of the timing lines.

Johnson himself relented a bit on his criticism of race officials on Tuesday. Still, however, he holds to his stance that NASCAR’s method of pit road timing is questionable.

But the irony comes from the fact that a driver and team who so many believe has been aided to his five championships complained that NASCAR conspired against them.

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4 Responses to “Anyone else see the irony in Johnson’s cries of a NASCAR conspiracy against him?”

  1. Ken Says:
    April 6th, 2011 at 11:26 am

    Rich, I’m one of those people who have also felt that NASCAR has given Jimmie and Cheating-Chad a free pass all too often. That’s why, initially, I was very surprised that Jimmie got nailed (dare I say finally) for speeding on Sunday. There have been camera shots of Jimmie and even to my untrained eye he looked like he was going over the limit. Then, to top it all off, he came out on Tuesday and apologized for calling NASCAR out. I laughed! Given what I think of his car owner and the relationship that owner has with Brian, all I thought was that Tricky-Ricky must have missed his weekly contribution to Brian’s “Contingency Fund”. Looks good on Johnson, as far as I’m concerned. And by the way, as for your assertion that Gibbs, Roush, and Childress has received free passes, Gibbs and Childress maybe, but I don’t think Roush has ever received any free passes from NASCAR. I have always felt that they (NASCAR) have had it in for The Cat In The Hat. Or maybe it’s just the Ford teams.

  2. jerseygirl Says:
    April 6th, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    I was very happy to see that penalty against the 48 team on Sunday. IMO they play fast and loose with a lot of the rules and seldom get caught. Plus Johnson’s arrogance with his approach that doesn’t make him a likeable person or 5X 10 race champion. Read Jimmy Spencer’s article about it — and I happen to agree, Johnson is never gracious in defeat.

    Personally I hope that if NASCAR is conspiring to keep Johnson out of VL, they take it right up through Homestead.

  3. Brian M Says:
    April 7th, 2011 at 11:54 am

    I’m glad Johnson got called out. Hendrick definitely di miss his payment. I just wish he’d miss his payment to the 3 talking heads in the booth. Remember there are 42 other drivers on the track.

    You got to rememeber why there is a speed limit on pit road, crew members were getting hit.

    The word speed limit means that it’s a constant speed going through pit road, not to speed up between the timing zones.

  4. Mr. Tony Geinzer Says:
    April 7th, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    Duh, In my eyes, Rich, I think folks are fed up with 48 Winning all the rings and I feel that people would dig someone new winning as I still feel hurt over last year and I feel Sprint needs to leave one year early as there’s no closure in the Current Era as the Title is a Bigger Grind.