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« Trevor Bayne proving to be a model of consistency, but still room for improvement | Main | Might Johnson or Kenseth benefit from team orders over the next two weeks? »

Kenseth vs Johnson just doesn’t seem like a rivalry

By admin | November 6, 2013

Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson don’t exactly have a bitter rivalry with each other. 

By Richard Allen

Unless something really strange happens, either Matt Kenseth or Jimmie Johnson is going to walk away from the current season as the Sprint Cup champion. And with the 2013 season working its way down to a two man race for the championship, there is the natural tendency to call the combatants rivals. However, the contest between these two particular drivers just doesn’t have the feel of a rivalry.

That’s not in any way meant to discredit the abilities of either Kenseth or Johnson. Their records speak volumes about their skill at driving race cars. Both are champions and both have won big races all throughout their careers.

But at the same time, both are noted for a certain lack of personality. After all, Kenseth is often referred to as robotic, even though he does have a great sense of humor. And, hardly any discussion can be held about Johnson without the word vanilla making an appearance at some point in the conversation.

To make this seem like even less of a rivalry, these two seem to actually get along. Their children have been seen playing together, their wives socialize and the drivers race each other relatively cleanly.

It’s not very likely that either will come up with a derogatory nickname for the other like Cale Yarborough did when he labeled Darrell Waltrip as “Jaws”. And it’s not like Waltrip and Bobby Allison who seemed to genuinely dislike each other, as was also the case with Allison and Richard Petty.

Kenseth and Johnson may have a mutual respect for each other as did Petty and David Pearson, but they don’t resort the same sort of all or nothing tactics that ‘The King’ and ‘The Silver Fox’ used on each other.

Unlike Dale Earnhardt did somewhat jokingly toward Jeff Gordon after winning the second Brickyard 400, there probably won’t be any quips such as, ”I’m the first man to win this race because a boy won it last year.”

Kenseth and Johnson typically race each other cleanly.

Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson are driving the two best cars for the two best teams in NASCAR this year. They deserve to be the two drivers battling for the Sprint Cup title. They race each other hard. Neither tries to draw attention to himself nor tries to detract from the other. As a result, it’s hard to label what they have as a rivalry.

That’s not necessarily good or bad, it’s just not what NASCAR has typically had throughout its history among championship contenders.

Please consider reading “The timing of the ‘Saban to Texas’ story is interesting“.

Topics: Articles |

11 Responses to “Kenseth vs Johnson just doesn’t seem like a rivalry”

  1. Sue Rarick Says:
    November 6th, 2013 at 11:30 pm

    I personally like the fact that you have two guys that are at the top of their game and are racing hard but clean for a championship.

  2. Tom Wilkinson Says:
    November 7th, 2013 at 8:08 am

    They are two of the best drivers with the best crews behind them. But……….also they both have a lot of money behind them. There are several more just as capable if they had the money behind them.

  3. Jesse Says:
    November 7th, 2013 at 11:34 am

    It’s all about Toyota making sure all their drivers finish behind Kenseth in the next two races, you can count on it. They want this more than the teams want it. The billions they spend to say built in America, playing the national anthem in their tv ads. their engine factory that no other company has, it seems like every race is paced by them. What a joke Nascar has become

  4. Pokey Says:
    November 7th, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    Jesse, you will probably have tunnel vision before you die. You did not notice that Jimmie, Junior, and Kasey all suffered from “slumps” over the last month before the Chase? All were trying to help Jeff Gordon make the Chase. I took a Brian France intervention, but he got there. Do you think any of the other six Hendrick drivers (yes, six and even more among the field fillers) will finish ahead of Jimmie this week? Unless he wrecks or blows his engine, you can bet against that just as easily as you can bet Kyle and Denny will finish behind Matt. You are correct that, if Jimmie still needs to have a great finish at Homestead, the last race will be a parade of Chevys protecting Jimmie and Toyotas protecting Matt. Lat I looke, there with be at least 18 Chevys and maybe 12 Toyotas at Homestead. YOU do that math and stop dumping on my driver, Matt Kenseth, for no reason other than you like worthless Government Motors products.

  5. jerseygirl Says:
    November 7th, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    Agree that this isn’t much of a rivalry, I’m sure they are both nice people, but they portray the definition of “bland” and personally I find the lack of personality to be not very interesting.

    Jesse, yeah, I believe that Toyota wants this really badly as well. It was a nice thing to see Chevy trucks for the drivers at Martinsville when so many tracks have turned it all over to the Toyotas.

    I’m not rooting for Johnson to win another championship, but I’d rather he did than having Toyota win it.

    I’m probably only going to be giving a cursory look at Phoenix & Homestead. I don’t really care about the last 2 races and since I don’t cheer for either of these drivers, it makes both races an “I don’t care” event.

  6. Bill B Says:
    November 7th, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    Both are great drivers but generate the same excitement amongst fans as a meal that consists of bread and water.

  7. Michael in SoCal Says:
    November 7th, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    Jesse - Your post doesn’t make sense. Chevy clinched the manufacturer’s points battle at Martinsville, and Johnson just won Texas in a Chevy. Apparently, not every race is paced by Toyota.

  8. Jesse Says:
    November 7th, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    Pokey, did not dump your driver, I talking about that so called all American car company Toyota, everyone is talking about and Government Motors, the profits that they make still go to the USA not back to Japan, If you read my post, pace as in pace car, the races are mostly paced by a Toyota, Michael in SoCal

  9. Pokey Says:
    November 8th, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    I don’t think you have any understanding of profits, Jesse. GM has to first make a profit before any profits would stay in the USA. Last I checked, GM still owes the taxpayers more than 20 billion dollars. Toyota owes us no money and pays hefty taxes to our useless government on all the vehicles they actually ship across the ocean. Just pointing that out. And don’t talk about how we had to defeat Japan in WWII. That was about 70 years ago and most of us aren’t even old enough to remember the Vietnam war. I doubt we have many better allies than Japan right now. I am not telling you that it is not your privilege to support our country by purchasing USA products, I do that too. I just don’t have issues with anyone selling us quality products for a fair price. Toyota only goes overboard about building their products in the USA because most people will by local if everything else is equal.

  10. Offkilter Says:
    November 9th, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    What Sue Rarick said.
    The faction of fans that deem JJ, Kenseth or any other driver too vanilla should dvr those hidious baby mamma-daddy talk shows on the tube during the week days and hit the play button immediately when the checker falls across the nose of the 48 car. Or better yet, start recording either Busch brother interviews after one of their self inflicted incidents on the track to see how the drivers with “fire and passion” blame all their woes on somebody else beneath their perceived greatness and replay that crap for a non-racing, wal -mart shopping rush of a high.

  11. Denny Says:
    November 13th, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    I miss having Tony Stewart in the Chase this year. At least he would add some spice to some boring races. I like the sign held up last Sunday on NASCAR Race Day, “Anybody Butt Jimmie” and a red line thru the 18. Go Matt!