Why Jimmie Johnson Being Out of the Chase is a Good Thing for No. 48 Fans

Jimmie Johnson 48Talladega wasn’t a good day in the Hendrick camp with two of the sport’s most popular (an arguably talented) drivers not advancing — Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Plus, teammate Kasey Kahne who has teetered throughout the Chase, finally faltered due to Brad Keselowski stealing the final Chase spot by winning at Talladega. Hendrick now is represented solely by Jeff Gordon, and through Hendrick engine-powered Kevin Harvick.

Obviously, a lot of fans hopes for their favorite driver winning the 2014 Sprint Cup’s hopes were dashed yesterday, but there is a silver lining. Jimmie Johnson fans especially have reason to take this as a positive.

It’s no secret that the No. 48 team has struggled more this year than in previous ones, and many agree it’s been a combination of struggling with the new rule package of 2014 that’s turned the 2014 Gen 6 car into a more stable (i.e. less loose) race car. While some drivers like this, Johnson has always preferred a car that he’s able to slide around more. His teammate in the No. 24 on the other hand, has always preferred a tighter car, and has shown better and more consistent success in 2014.

Johnson led more laps at Talladega than he had in a long time — in fact he hadn’t led a lap since his last win, though he came close to leading a few back at Dover’s fall race.

Regardless, while every Jimmie Johnson fan would rather have seen the team advance to the next round of the Chase grid, and still be battling for the title at Martinsville next week, there is an upside.

Coming off of his title last year, it put Johnson behind. While the vast majority of other teams were winding down their seasons in 2013 and starting to plan and test for 2014, crew chief Chad Knaus and the rest of the 48 team were still focused solely on 2013 and winning that sixth title. It was obvious this season that the title came at a price — preparation for the season we’re in now.

Now, with four races to go that’s four weeks the 48 team can utilize to test things out during the race and elsewhere. With a testing ban going in effect after Miami-Homestead, all but the eight teams still in contention for the 2014 Sprint Cup are likely to be trying out new things while they still can test, plus doing things in-race to help maximize next year.

So there’s your silver lining. A great product of modern-day NASCAR is it’s become very difficult to repeat back-to-back, with the focus and resources needed to attempt a title run. So if your team is already out (or wasn’t in to begin with) this year, take it a bit of an advantage going into the rest of the season, and ultimately next year.

3 thoughts on “Why Jimmie Johnson Being Out of the Chase is a Good Thing for No. 48 Fans

  • October 21, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    When Jimmie was leading, I thought he might win and knock out his chief competitor, Keselowski. Then, Martinsville, Texas, Phoenix and Homestead are paved for Johnson.

    So I’m not sure how getting knocked out was good vs. championship #8 this year.

    And I’m a Gordon fan, hate Jimmie.

  • October 21, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    This article makes me wonder how he managed to win five in a row.


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