By admin | April 7, 2013
By Richard Allen
Every week, I ask fans to grade the Sprint Cup race for the purpose,in teacher-like fashion, of preparing a report card after each six weeks. The past two events(Bristol and Fontana) have received exceedingly high marks from respondents. The Martinsville grades and the first six weeks report card will be out soon.
But prior to those recent scores, grades had been quite low for the early races if 2013. In particular, the Daytona 500 received the lowest scores of theÂ year to this point. One reason mentioned by several respondents was that they could not grade a race highly if Jimmie Johnson was the winner.
Certainly, the driver who wins is a determining factor in how much the fans like what they see. And to some, the five time champion is not terribly exciting. As a matter of fact, Johnson has often been called boring by his detractors.
At a time when NASCAR seems to be on an upward swing in terms of momentum and interest level, could a return to domination by Jimmie Johnson and his #48 Hendrick Motorsports team serve as a turn-off?
Johnson’s win in Martinsville on Sunday was his second triumph of 2013(also won the Daytona 500). Further, that win boosted ‘ole five time’ to the lead in the Sprint Cup standings. Even though it’s early, there is little doubt this team is one of the favorites for the championship at season’s end.
My dad, who is about as avid of a NASCAR fan as I know, began rooting for anyone to pass Johnson in the closing laps at Martinsville. “I just don’t want to see him win every week,” he said. And immediately after the checkered flag waved, he changed the channel, not wanting to watch the Johnson interview.
And even though he has been a life-long Ford fan, I would not really call my dad a Johnson hater by any means.
IfÂ my dadÂ is turned of by Johnson wins, I’m wondering how many othersÂ are as well? And, I wonder if a potential run of domination by Johnson during the 2013 season might negatively impact attendance and television ratings just when it seemed as though NASCAR is climbing out of its rut in those areas?
Jimmie Johnson is off to a great start to the season. That is no doubt a bad sign for the competition. But, will it be a bad thing for NASCAR should he and his Chad Knaus led team go on the type of dominating run they are capable of?
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