My Brain On NASCAR: Johnson blows engine but not his cool

At Michigan International Speedway (MIS) on Sunday, Jimmie Johnson did something so shocking, so unthinkable, that radio call-in shows, the Internet, and even some respected print publications have been literally crackling with outrage ever since.

While leading the race with only six laps remaining, Johnson’s engine gave up the ghost. He subsequently exited the car, and the entire track, without talking to the media. The prevailing sentiment regarding that decision seems to be, “How dare he?”

I have a different question: Why do I so frequently find myself in the position of defending Jimmie Johnson?

It certainly isn’t because he needs my help. Johnson has won more NASCAR Sprint Cup Series titles than you can count; well, OK, he’s won five, if we’re splitting hairs, but that’s a lot. And not only did he win those championships, but he did it in consecutive seasons, which is unprecedented in NASCAR.

JJ personifies all the positive catchphrases and buzzwords folks like to toss around, things like “great ambassador for the sport,” “consummate professional” and “future Hall-of-Famer.” He is movie-star handsome and articulate, with a beautiful wife and daughter. He has a plum ride at Hendrick Motorsports, and his sponsorship deal with Lowe’s is one of the most solid in the sport. If you believe everything you hear – and don’t we all? – Jeff Gordon, a true racing legend, is his best friend.

Talk about living the dream; from the outside looking in, Jimmie Johnson truly is the total package, the American success story we all wish we could experience, even for just a little while.

So what’s with all the nitpicking?

Nitpicking, by the strict letter of the language, is the task of removing the tiny eggs of lice, called nits, from someone’s hair and clothing, a tedious activity that requires close attention and care. In order to find and ferret out the nasty little rascals, you really have to look hard and dig deep. No one does this for fun; it is simply too tiresome.

In sports, bad behavior is too often considered a good thing. Like that three-letter word that starts with “S” and ends with “X,” it sells. We like it, and want to see more of it.

Let’s go ahead and admit it. After the August 12 race at Watkins Glen, when Kyle Busch wrecked on the final lap thanks to some invisible oil and then stalked off with the demeanor of a violently-shaken can of Coke, we were on the edges of our seats. American TV viewers were just waiting for that first reporter to pop the question so Kyle, who is known for his volatility, could blow his top.

He didn’t do it. We felt robbed.

We got a second chance at Michigan. Even better than watching someone known for his fiery temper let it fly is watching someone known for his composure completely lose it. When Jimmie Johnson walked away from his defunct Chevy without even removing his helmet, we were once again on the edges of our seats. He had just relinquished the points lead and would surely melt down before our eyes.

He didn’t do it. We felt robbed.

It is important to note that NASCAR holds finishers two through five on pit road to talk to the media after each race, while the winner heads to Victory Lane to celebrate. Everyone else is free to leave. Johnson, who posted a 27th-place finish at Michigan, was under no obligation to talk with anyone, or even to remain on the property. His day was done.

When did doing the right thing become the wrong thing to do? It is a sorry state of affairs when, of the man who apparently feels that if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all, many people have nothing nice to say.

Comments

comments

Legette's comeback puts CF foes in a real 'Catch 22'

Legette's comeback puts CF foes in a real 'Catch 22'David Legette knows his coaches could have moved on for [more]

Only MB stands between NMB sweep to region title

Only MB stands between NMB sweep to region titleThe North Myrtle Beach High volleyball team has run the [more]

Wilson takes keys, drives Seahawks to 100th victory

Wilson takes keys, drives Seahawks to 100th victoryMickey Wilson vaguely remembers Scott Earley approaching him in April [more]

NMB girls win region title; MB boys finish runner-up

NMB girls win region title; MB boys finish runner-upThe North Myrtle Beach High girls cross country team won [more]

Golf: CF, SJ qualify in 5A; MB, NMB finish 2-3 in 4A

Golf: CF, SJ qualify in 5A; MB, NMB finish 2-3 in 4AThe St. James girls golf team was runner-up at Monday's [more]

CF's Runyon makes home run to coach alma mater

CF's Runyon makes home run to coach alma materFormer Carolina Forest High and University of Alabama softball standout [more]

Tennis: Seahawks start long week with win over Wilson

Tennis: Seahawks start long week with win over WilsonThe Myrtle Beach girls tennis team breezed through another region [more]

CCU baseball at Clemson, hosts UNCW in fall season

CCU baseball at Clemson, hosts UNCW in fall seasonWith fall practice in full swing, Coastal Carolina baseball head [more]

Volleyball: Chiefs, Panthers take broom to region rivals

Volleyball: Chiefs, Panthers take broom to region rivalsThe North Myrtle Beach volleyball team continued its unbeaten run [more]

Coast FA boys teams earn Charleston Shootout titles

Coast FA boys teams earn Charleston Shootout titlesThree Coast FA boys select teams returned home with hardware [more]

Chants suffer Sun Belt loss to Warhawks on home turf

Chants suffer Sun Belt loss to Warhawks on home turfCoastal Carolina fell behind early and played from behind for [more]

Week 8 Roundup: Wilson wins 100th; Tigers prevail

Week 8 Roundup: Wilson wins 100th; Tigers prevailMyrtle Beach football coach Mickey Wilson's teams are known for [more]

Panthers stroll past Sharks, set up key 6-5A showdown

Panthers stroll past Sharks, set up key 6-5A showdownCarolina Forest is typically pretty reserved when it comes to [more]

No. 6 Chiefs bounce back in a big way to fly past Falcons

No. 6 Chiefs bounce back in a big way to fly past FalconsNorth Myrtle Beach bounced back from last week's loss in [more]

Knights roll past Braves in battle of haves, have-nots

Knights roll past Braves in battle of haves, have-notsThe haves and the have-nots became obvious in the first [more]

CF boys, NMB girls claim Horry County XC crowns

CF boys, NMB girls claim Horry County XC crownsThe North Myrtle Beach girls and the Carolina Forest boys [more]

Week 8 Previews & Picks: MB's Wilson goes for 100

Week 8 Previews & Picks: MB's Wilson goes for 100There has been some confusion over exactly when and where [more]

Football rivals team up to stay sharp, help neighbors

Football rivals team up to stay sharp, help neighborsFacing weeks of canceled practices and games, Mason Garcia knew [more]

Volleyball: Chiefs continue run through region lineup

Volleyball: Chiefs continue run through region lineupThe North Myrtle Beach volleyball team continued its unblemished region [more]

MB girls win region crown; four locals make all-region

MB girls win region crown; four locals make all-regionThe Myrtle Beach High girls golf team won the Region [more]

Knights knock off Sharks following monthlong wait

Knights knock off Sharks following monthlong wait The last time Tommy Norwood spoke after one of his [more]

Golf: Sharks top Panthers; Knaffle, Gray co-medalists

Golf: Sharks top Panthers; Knaffle, Gray co-medalistsThe three-time state champion St. James girls golf team captured [more]

Conway hires familiar face to lead Lady Tigers' hoops

Conway hires familiar face to lead Lady Tigers' hoopsConway High School has chosen a familiar face to direct [more]

BUFC hosts overcome lost time to shine at Shootout

BUFC hosts overcome lost time to shine at ShootoutDespite missing out on several practice sessions due to Hurricane [more]

Seahawks don't miss beat in shutout over Darlington

Seahawks don't miss beat in shutout over DarlingtonNo practices, no games, no problem. Playing for the first time [more]

Legette's comeback puts CF foes in a real 'Catch 22'

Legette's comeback puts CF foes in a real 'Catch 22'David Legette knows his coaches could have moved on for [more]

Only MB stands between NMB sweep to region title

Only MB stands between NMB sweep to region titleThe North Myrtle Beach High volleyball team has run the [more]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© 2018 Grand Strand Sports Report · RSS
Myrtle Beach Web Design
Kayaking in Myrtle Beach