The dictionary defines dynasty as; ?a sequence of rulers from the same family, stock, or group.?
Can anyone deny that Rick Hendrick has built a NASCAR dynasty? Over the last sixteen Cup seasons, a team from Hendrick Motorsports has occupied the head table at the annual awards banquet ten times.
Once again this year, as it has been for the last four, the Chad Knaus lead #48 team will be the one hoisting the trophy, making the most speeches, and cashing the big check.
And as Jimmie Johnson celebrates his unprecedented fifth straight championship, one has to wonder why no other team has been able to figure out what these guys are doing? (And please, no conspiracy theories here, okay?)
When NASCAR instituted the ?Chase for the Sprint Cup? format in 2004 the idea was to inject some excitement into the final races of the year. To make it more ?competitive?. But has it?
In 2004, the first year of the chase, Jimmie Johnson finished second to Kurt Busch. 2005 was his worst finish in the ?Chase? fifth, and he?s won the thing the every year since.
These guys have it down to a system that no other team has been able to duplicate.
What the Chase format essentially does is turn a 36 race season into a 26 race test session to get ready for the final ten races that really count. After the first 26 races, whatever the top 12 teams have accomplished becomes irrelevant and is thrown away. Look at Kevin Harvick.
He led the points for almost the entire season, right up until the beginning of the Chase when the points were artificially rearranged and his lead disappeared never to return.
For some reason, the 48 bunch is the only team that seems to have figured how to work the system to their advantage. These guys spend the first 26 races getting ready for the last ten. They try things, they experiment, and they treat some of the races as test sessions. And they make sure they finish in the top 12 in points after those 26 races. Then, they turn it on for the last ten and make their reservations for the awards banquet.
Only two drivers have more championships than Jimmie Johnson; Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt, Sr., each of whom have seven. Only Cale Yarborough and Darrell Waltrip have won more than two consecutive championships and they got their three in-a-row in what was arguably a less competitive time.
It is true that this year the competition was closer than it has ever been. For the first time in his championship run Johnson came into the last race without the points lead. The other guys may be showing signs of catching up. But, as with most competitors, that will only make Knaus and the team work that much harder next year.
So, has the Chase format worked? Does it bring the season to a more competitive end? There are lots of people who will tell you that they are tired of Jimmie Johnson winning every year. Many fans get tired of seeing the same guy win all the time.
Well, under the old points system, in the time Johnson won his five, Jeff Gordon would?ve won two more championships and this year?s champ would be . . . . Kevin Harvick!
I?m just sayin?.
Opinions expressed in blogs are those of the individual bloggers and do not necessarily represent the views of racing-reference.info.