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Sports Then and Now



NASCAR Shows Double Standard Alive and Well in the Chase for the Cup 0

Posted on September 13, 2013 by Dean Hybl
This late race accident by Jimmie Johnson helped give his teammate, Jeff Gordon, a chance to pass many of the race leaders and remain within contention for the Chase.

This late race accident by Jimmie Johnson helped give his teammate, Jeff Gordon, a chance to pass many of the race leaders and remain within contention for the Chase.

With their rulings this week that ultimately ensured that NASCAR darlings Jeff Gordon and Ryan Newman were in the “Chase for the Cup”, NASCAR showed that manipulating results to benefit your teammates is only okay if done in a covert manner.

Much has been made of Clint Bowyer’s spin and the apparent attempts by some teams to help certain drivers (Martin Truex Jr. and Joey Logano) earn additional points to ensure their participation in the NASCAR Chase.

Based on the history of race manipulation in NASCAR, what they are really guilty of is not being stealth enough in their approach.

They need to work at emulating the expert performances of Hendrick Motorsport teammates Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon. Two of the most successful drivers of the last decade, both drivers have well deserved reputations for bending ethics to ensure success.

Both drivers have more than a wall full of trophies earned as a result of knocking drivers out of their way, in many of those cases doing so by masking intentional unfair actions under the guise of “that’s just racing.”

So it should be no surprise that during the final green light pits of the Richmond race (and thus the last real big chance to alter chase order), Johnson mysteriously had a “tire get low” and banged into the wall just in time for Gordon, who seemed hopelessly out of the points race, to work his way through and pass many of the race leaders to suddenly get back in contention. Read the rest of this entry →

Jimmie Johnson Rules NASCAR, But Is His Reign Good For the Sport? 1

Posted on February 26, 2010 by Dean Hybl

Auto Club 500

Jimmie Johnson's victory in the Auto Club 500 is just a reminder of his dominance.

The victory by four-time defending NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson in the second race of the season is an early reminder to the other drivers in NASCAR that this is Johnson’s sport and he is simply letting everyone else round out the field.

After struggling in the season opener at Daytona, you knew Johnson would be looking for a strong showing in his home state of California. His victory was his second straight at Fontana and fourth in the last six races there.

Now the drivers head to Las Vegas where Johnson won three straight times between 2005 and 2007, but has struggled with disappointing finishes the last two years (29th in 2008, 24th in 2009). Given his competitive nature, watch for Johnson to again be near the front at the end of the race on Sunday.

Johnson’s dominance of the sport has come at a time when NASCAR is struggling to maintain the growth in the fan base that has occurred over the past decade.

Because Johnson is not the typical car-loving, spend all day under the hood guy from the Southeast that has historically been your prototype for a NASCAR driver, he and fellow Californian Jeff Gordon have been given some of the credit for bringing people outside of the core fan base into racing. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Rusty Staub: A Man For All Ages
      April 8, 2024 | 1:26 pm
      Rusty Staub

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former major league baseball player who came into the game as a teenager and stayed until he was in his 40s. In between, Rusty Staub put up a solid career that was primarily spent on expansion or rebuilding teams.

      Originally signed by the Colt .45s at age 17, he made his major league debut as a 19-year old rookie and became only the second player in the modern era to play in more than 150 games as a teenager.

      Though he hit only .224 splitting time between first base and rightfield, Staub did start building a foundation that would turn him into an All-Star by 1967 when he finished fifth in the league with a .333 batting average.

      Read more »

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