By admin | February 12, 2009
By Richard Allen
While scanning through various team frequencies during the Gatorade Duel races on Thursday, one comment really got my attention. The comment was made by a driver known for not allowing his emotions to get the better of him and it was made in reference to a driver who has a proven record of success.
The comment was made by Matt Kenseth about Jimmie Johnson.
On lap 21 of the first of the two qualifying races as Kenseth rode behind Johnson he radioed to his crew, â€œThe 48â€™s the man. He could drive to the front by himself if he wanted to because heâ€™s turning so good.â€
Johnson did not end up winning his race which means one of two things is true. Either he was taking it easy and just making sure his car made it to the end of a race that, in the grand scheme of things, really doesnâ€™t matter, or Kenseth does not know what he is talking about.
Given Kensethâ€™s never too emotional or rash demeanor and the past record of Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus, I tend to believe the first choice is the safer bet.
I originally picked Kyle Busch several weeks ago to win the Daytona 500 and thus stuck with him in my fantasy prediction column. After Kensethâ€™s remark, I am a bit more leery of Johnson and his Hendrick Motorsports teammates than I was originally.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
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