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« Remember When Danica Was Going to Save NASCAR? | Main | Comparisons Between NASCAR and ‘The Masters’ Abound After Tiger Woods Ruling »

Will Jimmie Johnson Domination Turn Fans Off?

By admin | April 7, 2013

 If Jimmie Johnson adds another Sprint Cup trophy to his collection will it turn fans away from NASCAR?

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 the 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.

If my dad is turned of by Johnson wins, I’m wondering how many others 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?

Topics: Articles |

37 Responses to “Will Jimmie Johnson Domination Turn Fans Off?”

  1. moparman Says:
    April 8th, 2013 at 3:44 am

    I have to agree.
    Watching JJ win every week is like watching paint dry.

    I have nothing against the man.But I wish he would do something.
    He is like a robo driver.
    If you lose,throw a helmet.
    Threaten to beat them up.
    If you win? At least plant a wet one on miss sprint cup.LOL
    Do something!!!!

  2. Ken in Canada Says:
    April 8th, 2013 at 5:26 am

    Rich, I am definitely turned of by a Johnson win. And if he does get his 6th championship, it will kill NASCAR. As much as I cannot stand him, most of the dislike for Johnson stems from his crew chief, who I consider the biggest cheater in history (and don’t anyone dare to compare him to Smokey Yunick. Yunick was a character and an innovator, while Knaus is just a rule-bending malcontent), and his car owner, who epitomizes the term sleaze. When you have the money Hendrick has and is willing to spend, of course you will crush the competition, which Hendrick said at the beginning of the year he intends to do. Who can compete with that? Plus, look at the strong connection between Hendrick and Brian France. Those two are “very good friends”. too good for my liking. Now, lets add in the Mr. Middlebrook connection. He was a Chevrolet/G.M. boss with a strong connection with Hendrick. Now, he is the one who has the final say in NASCAR penalties. So, now, Cheating Chad can walk through the garage and thumb his nose at everyone, because he knows that he can get away with anything.

    Like I said, nobody has the deep pockets of Rick Hendrick, and nobody can compete with him. And having such a dominant team as the #48 will be the final nail in the coffin of a sport that is already on life support. But, Brian France seems ok with this. Big Bill France would not have been!

  3. Ken in Canada Says:
    April 8th, 2013 at 5:28 am

    Sorry Rich, that fist line should have read “I am definitely turned off by a Johnson win.”

  4. Tony Geinzer Says:
    April 8th, 2013 at 5:49 am

    Rich, I could think of 10 Other Good Things Other than JJ Ganging Up On 6 like the Gang of 6 from Friends. He would fly off like a G6 while everyone else loses their handles and spout, and this isn’t 1993, and the Motorsports Options are scrambling again.

  5. Bill B Says:
    April 8th, 2013 at 5:53 am

    I’ll give the race a B+ for Martinsville. There is no such thing as a bad race at Martinsville.

    To answer your question yes, it does turn me off. I too turned the tv off as soon as the race ended. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the race overall, but I kind of knew JJ was probably going to win when he got that pole/first pit stall.

    I’ll say one thing negative about Martinsville. If there is any track where the double file restart is totally unfair it is at this track. It is enfuriating as a fan when your driver has to start on the outside, I imagine for the drivers it’s even worse. If you start on the outside in any spot but 2nd, you are probably going back 5 to 8 spots no matter what you do once things get sorted out.

  6. Nate Says:
    April 8th, 2013 at 6:48 am

    I don’t think it’s about Johnson winning as much as it is dominating the entire race. It gets old watching anyone sail away all day. Got to give him and Chad credit for being able to stick together this long and dominate like they have, as boring as that may be for some of us…

  7. Ken Says:
    April 8th, 2013 at 7:26 am

    NASCAR is Hendrick and Chevrolet. The bias and rulings make it as clear as a turd in a punchbowl. I wonder how long Professional Wrestling on wheels will keep the typical fan’s interest? A group of fans and former fans discussed how much NASCAR has become like professional wrestling and nobody disagreed with the comparison.

  8. Dan Says:
    April 8th, 2013 at 8:45 am

    Made it to the half-way point and that was enough! At least we had a good truck race!

  9. Glen H. Says:
    April 8th, 2013 at 8:54 am

    If Johnson continues to win it’ll definately hurt ratings. There just isn’t a connection between Johnson and the fans and if he dominates, they’ll just tune out.

  10. Sue Rarick Says:
    April 8th, 2013 at 9:40 am

    I get confused when people hate a driver who races hard and wins but loves a driver who has gotten most of his wins on fuel mileage strategy. Then turn around and say how boring the racing was (2012).

    This years racing has been very good and it just happens that Johnson has won two races. I’m not a fan of Johnson’s but I could care less if he won every race as long as there was good racing every week and they not go back to last years fuel mileage yawners.

    PS. Comcast here screwed up reception on Fox channel so we ended up watching the race occasionally but there was a good INDY car race as well.

  11. midasmicah Says:
    April 8th, 2013 at 10:18 am

    The last thing nas$car needs is another Hendricks, I mean Sprint cup championship. If so, fans who have returned to the sport will just turn away again. Funny, I’ve never heard Earnhardt Sr. Or Richard Petty referred to as ole seven time. Johnson’s post race drink should be a vanilla shake. And nah, the Hendricks cars don’t have an advantage.

  12. Rusty Says:
    April 8th, 2013 at 10:30 am

    I’m not a Johnson fan or a hater. On the one hand, I understand why fans get turned off when he wins all the time. They want to see “their” driver in victory lane, or just different drivers in victory lane. Some of it has to do with Johnson’s public persona - Mr. Ice. If you sprinkled in a bit of Keselowski’s, Dale Jr’s, or Bowyer’s personality into JJ he’d be the most popular driver. On the other hand, I want to say to the fans who complain about Johnson “deal with it”. We’re lucky to be around to watch one of the best ever drivers of the modern era do this thing while still in his prime.

  13. Jay Says:
    April 8th, 2013 at 11:45 am

    Yes, Johnson winning lessens the excitement of the sport. He’s boring, him winning is boring, and I wish he’d have a year where he is irrelevant and misses the chase. Don’t think it’ll happen, but it’d be nice.

  14. Richard Says:
    April 8th, 2013 at 11:56 am

    It does impact my tv watching. When the 48 gets to the front I change channels. Without The 11 in the race I didn’t even turn on the tv.

  15. RC Says:
    April 8th, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    Always has. Always will.

  16. jo-jr Says:
    April 8th, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    I agree, with ken, in canada, 100%. stopped going to the races two years ago! why, would, any fan, now, pay their hard-earned money and travel, hundreds of miles, to see the same driver get most of the wins? I say get the wins, because i refuse to say win! most of the true fans know they cheat to get them!, and and they get caught, and never loose any points!!
    and jr.needs to use his brain and stop helping jimmy!! he has pushed him to a lot of wins, and look, how the mighty jimmy pays him ,in return, at martinsville,!! I never watched the race but read what he did ,on line!! jimmy is a user….stop, helping him ,jr!!!

  17. Jer Says:
    April 8th, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    JJ really remains a mystery. We don’t know what his is ability would be without Hendricks’ deep pockets and Chad. Make no mistake about it Hendricks money talks. Of course JJ is boring his car is so superior over everyone else he can’t help but be boring. On a few occasions he is quick to wine, if he is raced hard. If Hendricks would switch Junior to Chad and the 48 and JJ to the 88 it would soon answer a lot of questions about both Junior and JJ.

  18. Brian Ct. Says:
    April 8th, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    Ken in Canada said it best.

    Totally a turn off, it ususally takes me a couple of races to watch another. Been a hardcore fan since ‘88.

    There is more behind the name Jimmy Johnson, it’s called Hendrick Motorsports.

    Just like Ken pointed out, the money and resources (in and out of Hendricks) backing Johnson is second to none. You take Gordon or Johnson out of a Hendrick car and they won’t be as dominant.

    One of the biggest turn off is simply the media shoving all things Hendrick down my throat. Isn’t the media supposed to be biased. sarcasm enabled.

    When you have those three Hendrick lovers in the booth talking non stop about them kinda wears on ya.

    Great subject to write about, none of the other news sources would touch this with a 10 ft. Hendrick stick.

  19. Brian Ct. Says:
    April 8th, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    I meant non-bias in my previous statement. Typing to fast.

  20. Wayne T. Morgan Says:
    April 8th, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    I like Johnson for the simple reason he gets in the car wins races (62) gets out thanks everybody and goes home. And he has five Cups so that says something. Hell Chad cheats like everyone else and gets caught but he is always looking for more! Even Preacher Gibbs and his choir boys have been caught as a host of others too. And as Hendrick and his money, well never trust a Car Dealer or a member of Congress. Sponsors like winning and that’s why he has all his cars covered. Maybe the rest need to look harder or win more. Oh and the 2 doesn’t come from money man?

  21. Stan Says:
    April 8th, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    Yes it will Rich, but “The Chase” and Kyle Busch have the same effect on me.

  22. jo-jr Says:
    April 8th, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    when j.j. was racing in ASA, did not like him then, don’t like him now. been watching races and going to them since back in the 60’s. stopped going to the races two years ago ! so sick of jimmy j. always wining an every one knows he haS CHEATED TO GET THE WINS AND CHAMPIONSHIPS! chad gets caught and , never has any points , taken away! why would any fan want to spend their hard- earned money and travel hundreds of miles, and already know how the race will end? same old-same old!! boring! nascar is on the way, fast..to dying! hendricks has ruined nascar, as the true race fan knows! when, nascar let him own more than one team, that was the end of nascar!!

  23. GinaV24 Says:
    April 8th, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    yes, it has already turned fans off, but then again, as Stan points out, I already have a hard time being as interested as I once was because of the 10 race trophy deal.

    Johnson may be interesting in person but the bland persona he shows to race fans makes me a “who cares” driver for me. Unlike some other drivers, there’s not enough personality there for me to even care enough to “dislike”.

  24. L. Says:
    April 8th, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    Yes its a bad idea, I’m already sick of him

  25. Offkilter Says:
    April 8th, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    The racing has been dam good this year so that means (gasp) nascar may have actually did something right. Maybe its just coincidence. Personally i don’t care, i just hope the racing stays good. Johnson hasn’t dominated YET, so entertaining the (what if)question that he could “hurt” nascar after only 5 races is just inticing the fickle to whine about something. No matter how talented a given driver and team are, they never stay on top forever so don’t sweat it folks and enjoy the sport for being what it should be and producing what i think is the best racing in years.

  26. Offkilter Says:
    April 8th, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    Wayne morgan, great comment

  27. William Billips Says:
    April 8th, 2013 at 7:30 pm

    Keep winning Jimmie! Make the Haters even more miserable!

  28. Alan moody Says:
    April 8th, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    I have never seen grown men bich and whine so much as when discussing ol” five-time. If it makes you guys feel better to blame a sports problems on a champion who dedicates his life to make sure he is a positive role model in and off the track. To the guy saying ” do something” are u kidding me??? I didn’t know 60+ wins and five championships was not enough for ya? Kiss the sprint cup chick??? The problem is not that he needs to ” do something” the problem is he keeps doing the same thing….. WIN! Nobody likes a winner unless it is their own, or themselves. Jimmie and chad are dominating in a sport that no ones seems to think one person can stay relavent this long…so they start looking for ways that he is a witch!! BURN HIM HE’S A WITCH!!? That us all I hear in these little rant bs stories. Nobody can give the respect owed to a five time champ in the sport so they do the next best thing, talk trash about him to justify why they are not impressed with his greatness…this guy works harder, longer, and smarter then his compition and does his job with class. Takes time to thank the fans, media, and sponsors like someone who is apriciative of his oppurtunities! Almost like he grew up in a double wide racing moto bikes out if his parents bedroom ( garage) Even stranger is that he worked his way up by racing underfunded equipment and teams. Yet you could never tell with all the CRAP that you guys continue to drape jj in. He is a gracious champion, a GREAT DAD, loving husband, and a grateful son to his living parents. Yet even with all these qualities this man shows on a daily basis you people still find a way to call him everything but. NASCAR is not failing because of Jimmie Johnson. NASCAR is failing because of the type of qualities that Jimmie does have…. The people that do watch can not even come close too. The day a successful humble man like jj can’t be looked up to because he won’t kiss another woman in front of his wife and kid, it is sad. Here is to what I hope is a very disappointing year for all of those out there that can’t stand winners and blame everyone but themselves for all that goes awry

  29. Chris Fiegler Says:
    April 8th, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    I was Surprised that Danica Patrick Finished in the Top 15 at the Hardest Speedway on the Sprint Cup Circuit which was Martinsville. I thought that she was going to struggle very badly.

  30. gil Says:
    April 8th, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    hes boring , bland and acrappy teammate. he takes advantage and never returns the help . The media blasts us with everything jimmy even if its not relivant. We watch the races cheering for anybody to do the bump and run and send him to the hauler. He may have 5 trophies but if Bill would have left things as they were it would be 2 maybe 3 and NASCAR would have more credit or at least better credit. His championships dont matter in our household its only the wins that count and he should have been docked about a quater of his for cheating.
    He made the chase a bigger joke than the idea was to begin with. Johnson a race care driver yes , champion no.

  31. Wayne T. Morgan Says:
    April 8th, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    I couldn’t help but notice one comment about how Johnson wins all the time and he has been going to races since the sixties. Me too and i remember the “King” winning quite a lot like 27 in one year. I guess he doesn’t like him either and J.J. has only 62 wins!!

  32. RacingFan Says:
    April 9th, 2013 at 12:19 am

    I am not really a fan of Jimmy, especially since he drives for the rich Hendrick organization, but I don’t especially dislike him either. I am concerned that NASCAR could artificially do something to handicap him, if they think that Jimmy’s success hurts their bottom line. They have made too many of those changes already.

    Chris’ comment does not really fit this discussion, but Jimmy and Danica’s style have a similarity. They both seem to drive smoothly and keep their sheet metal straight, something that will help them at tracks like Martinsville and Daytona, where mayhem often rules. Oddly, to many fans, that makes Jimmy boring and Danica a good driver.

  33. Offkilter Says:
    April 9th, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    Amen, brother Moody… Very well said

  34. Jeff Says:
    April 9th, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    We skipped a Fontana race because we grew sick of him winning it. I changed the channel immediately also!

  35. Tyler West Says:
    April 12th, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    The guy and his damn team are douche bags!! So yeah, if he starts dominating again it may turn some off. I hate the whole damn Hendrick organization.

  36. Annie Says:
    April 12th, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    It the whole Hendrick deal that gets me and many of us. Plus Chad doesn’t help..and no, we just don’t like Jimmie.

  37. Jay Says:
    April 18th, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    I don’t think it’s Jimmie that boring, it think seeing him win over and over and over is what’s boring. It’s like watching the same movie 60 times. Even if it’s a good movie, it’s not worth giving up a Sunday or Saturday night to see for the 60th time. Greatness, sure, whatever. Exciting for fans to watch - give me a break. How in the world could anyone expect the fans to be excited to see the same outcome 60+ times? I can’t imagine anyone inside the sport could be so clueless as to wonder why fans are bored with JJ winning. We’re watching greatness, so be excited about it?? Huh? The same outcome again & again is BORING. We watch because we’re hoping to see someone who would be remotely excited win the race, and when Jimmie wins… it all becomes a rerun & I wish I hadn’t wasted the last 3+ hours for such a lame outcome.

    All we fans have to go on when we feel good about a driver or not is what we see and what we hear. Who Jimmie is when you get to know him doesn’t apply ’cause WE don’t know him. It’s not feasible. Jimmie seems like a decent guy (not an ass like Stewart). From what we’re told about him overall, however, he certainly does not live “like us.” He’s not one of “the folks.” He may have come from a trailer park but he seems to live a lifestyle of the rich and famous. If that’s not true, then let’s hear about it, all we know is that he lives in New York whenever possible, and doesn’t mingle with “commoners” if possible. If you can’t identify with someone at least somewhat, it’s very hard to pull for them or enjoy seeing them rack up MORE wins.

    Also, Chad has to be about the most dislikeable person in NASCAR, bar none. Arrogant to no end, just a demanding prick to be around & work with (and proud of it, he practically boasts about how demanding he is), and a real pain in the ass just to watch & listen to on TV. In 10 years or more of watching NASCAR media and listening to Sirrus, I don’t think I have ever heard anyone (on the inside) comment that they actually like Chad as a person. That says a lot about him. It’s not entertaining watching a jerk win anything. Winner - absolutely. Likeable guy you even remotely feel like rooting for - no way. It’s fun seeing this type of “win no matter what kind of a piece of crap person you have to be in the process” personality lose. They personally think they’re the model of greatness, but most of us think they’re pathetic people who have no idea what real greatness is about. Dale Earnhardt seemed to understand what an all around great person was, Chad is hopelessly clueless, or at least appears to be to us fans.