It's the phrase everyone fears, NASCAR fans included, "It's time to have the talk." Most of the time what comes next is never good. And unless you are a Jimmie Johnson fan, I'm afraid that is also true in this case. It's time to start talking about Johnson's place among the greatest of all time.
He has 5 championships, only Petty and Earnhardt have more. But all of Jimmie's are in a row. That accomplishment would be impressive in any era, but with the competition level that exists today, its amazing.
"When I first started in the sport, there was three or four cars that you had to beat to win a race, and it was maybe two or three cars to win a championship," said 48 team owner Rick Hendrick. "Today, you've got at least 15 cars that can win a race. You have guys that won multiple races that didn't make the Chase. And you had guys that came on pretty strong at the end; if they had been in the Chase, they could have made a difference."
Which is a lot different then when the King and the Intimidator race.
But honestly, until JJ gets to 7, it will be hard to convince many people that he needs to be mentioned in that breath.
"I haven't thought much about where we are in looking up at what Petty and Earnhardt have done," said Johnson. "I mean, absolutely, I would love to tie them. I would love to surpass them. I don't know how realistic that is. I mean, I never thought, as you mentioned, that I would get to this point."
It is safe to say, as I hold my nose, that Jimmie is the best driver on the track right now. It hurts me to say that, not because I have anything against the 48 team, only because, as a fan, there are those I like better. But you have to be honest with yourself. His accomplishments are amazing.
"You have to respect it for sure, knowing how hard it is to do this," said 3rd place chaser Kevin Harvick. "I think that you have to step back and look at it and realize what they have accomplished is pretty remarkable."
Okay, so there. We had the talk. It wasnt that bad right? And there is good news for all you non-Jimmie Johnson fans, it's just 75 days til the 2011 Daytona 500.