Sunday, November 22, 2009

Picture says it all--2009 and four time consecutive Sprint Cup Champion driver (Jimmie Johnson) and crew chief (Chad Knaus). Yep--they are looking ahead already to 2010.

Friday, November 20, 2009

On Stun: Johnson wins pole for season ending Ford 400
So much for playing it safe--The newly resigned Jimmie Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus teamed up to put the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet Impala (Lowe's also re-upped as the sponsor) on the pole for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup season ending Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Johnson was among the last of the 35 locked in cars to take a qualifying lap, and was timed at 31.049 seconds (173.919 miles an hour). Scott Speed lines up second, Marcos Ambrose, 3rd.
Other musings: NASCAR CEO Brian France got his meeting with the media out of the way early. Auto racing is not a leading economic indicator, and France lowered expectations for the 2010 economic picture, saying that the sanctioning body would try to help with cost cutting, because "we (NASCAR) don't believe that 2010 looks, from just a pure economy standpoint, an awful lot better." That said, France says there is encouraging movement among sponsors, but not what was anticipated, and hope for in the future.
On the declining TV ratings: "on any given weekend, we still remain the second or third, depending on which weekend it is, most popular sport." He also said that NASCAR had no policy that demands that its media partners do one thing or another thing (in its broadcasts). As to whether the sanctioning body has a policy of retribution against media criticism from its broadcast partners, "There isn't a policy". On that, sir, we shall see.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Jimmie Johnson Meets the Media 11/19/2009
We rejoin our blogging after a hiatus. This weekend, like on October 8-10, we will be at the Homestead-Miami Speedway for the Sprint Cup season finale, where Jimmie Johnson, pictured, above, needs to finish 25th or better to lock out Mark Martin to win his fourth consecutive Sprint Cup title--which has never been done by any driver in the 60 years of NASCAR.
Johnson, contrary to what some might believe, did not just fall from the sky into the seat of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet Impala owned by Rick Hendrick. He came from a modest Southern California background, ran off road and ASA, and was discovered by Hendrick while running in the then Busch Series. He takes the racing seriously. As you saw from my Tweets from the news conference, Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus are going for a decisive performance.
You also saw the kind of respect that Mark Martin commands from his teammates in those Tweets as well.
We'll blog from the track, and Tweet as needed on Friday and Sunday.