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.

Coast FA holds free soccer ball giveaway for children

Coast FA holds free soccer ball giveaway for childrenYou've heard of taking a free kick in soccer, but [more]

Panthers take region title, four local teams advance

Panthers take region title, four local teams advanceThe Carolina Forest girls golf team captured the Region 6-5A [more]

NMB nips rival MB by one stroke to win region crown

NMB nips rival MB by one stroke to win region crownMonday's Region 6-4A girls golf tournament came down to a [more]

Record crowd sees Chants fall short to Georgia State

Record crowd sees Chants fall short to Georgia StateCoastal Carolina football held the Georgia State Panthers scoreless in [more]

Region 6-5A: Tigers top Braves; Panthers rip SF

Region 6-5A: Tigers top Braves; Panthers rip SFConway appeared to find its identity last week, pummeling West [more]

Region 6-4A: Chiefs suffer first defeat; MB dominates

Region 6-4A: Chiefs suffer first defeat; MB dominatesZayshaun Rice faked a pop pass to a receiver streaking [more]

Thursday Wrapup: MB golf, CF volleyball edge rivals

Thursday Wrapup: MB golf, CF volleyball edge rivalsThe Carolina Forest volleyball team's quest to complete an undefeated [more]

Seahawks QB Doty finalist for elite title of Mr. Football

Seahawks QB Doty finalist for elite title of Mr. Football Luke Doty is already considered one of the best quarterbacks [more]

Tuesday Roundup: NMB, CF sweep on Senior Night

Tuesday Roundup: NMB, CF sweep on Senior NightThe North Myrtle Beach volleyball team celebrated its Senior Night [more]

Edwards making his mark in Gamecock record book

Edwards making his mark in Gamecock record bookBefore Bryan Edwards was breaking records at South Carolina. Before [more]

BUFC, Coast teams prevail at Great Carolina Shootout

BUFC, Coast teams prevail at Great Carolina ShootoutThe Beach United Football Club crowned a pair of champions [more]

Region 6-5A: Tigers light up Knights; Panthers roll

Region 6-5A: Tigers light up Knights; Panthers rollConway returned to its roots Friday night and used a [more]

Region 6-4A: Seahawks, Chiefs dominate debuts

Region 6-4A: Seahawks, Chiefs dominate debutsMany high school quarterbacks would consider what Luke Doty has [more]

Chiefs using top tourneys to prep for 4A title defense

Chiefs using top tourneys to prep for 4A title defenseThe defending Class 4A state champion North Myrtle Beach volleyball [more]

Thursday Roundup: Region hot streak continues for CF

Thursday Roundup: Region hot streak continues for CFThe Carolina Forest volleyball team, unbeaten in Region 6-5A play, [more]

Carolina Forest swim team sweeps region meet titles

Carolina Forest swim team sweeps region meet titlesCarolina Forest High School's boys and girls swim teams bested [more]

Monday Roundup: Gray, NMB see close seconds

Monday Roundup: Gray, NMB see close secondsFor the second straight week the North Myrtle Beach volleyball [more]

Mountaineers manhandle Chants in Sun Belt opener

Mountaineers manhandle Chants in Sun Belt openerThe Coastal Carolina football team suffered a 56-37 loss at [more]

Week 5: Braves end skid; MB wins ugly Victory Bell

Week 5: Braves end skid; MB wins ugly Victory BellHow do you know when you have a pretty good [more]

Carolina Forest swimmers sweep in regional tuneup

Carolina Forest swimmers sweep in regional tuneupWith the SCHSL regional meets less than one week away, [more]

Thursday Roundup: CF, NMB volleyball stay hot

Thursday Roundup: CF, NMB volleyball stay hotThe Carolina Forest volleyball team capped a hectic week with [more]

Coastal soccer's Docking reaches 300-win milestone

Coastal soccer's Docking reaches 300-win milestoneIn 1997, the Coastal Carolina men’s soccer team was 4-2 [more]

Despite loss, Panthers run into top 10 of 5A rankings

Despite loss, Panthers run into top 10 of 5A rankingsCarolina Forest, welcome to the party. The Panthers’ football team, for [more]

Tuesday Roundup: Big day for bounce-back wins

Tuesday Roundup: Big day for bounce-back winsThe St. James girls golf team evened the score with [more]

Monday Roundup: CF, NMB swim teams win

Monday Roundup: CF, NMB swim teams winThe Carolina Forest boys and the North Myrtle Beach girls [more]

Coast FA holds free soccer ball giveaway for children

Coast FA holds free soccer ball giveaway for childrenYou've heard of taking a free kick in soccer, but [more]

Panthers take region title, four local teams advance

Panthers take region title, four local teams advanceThe Carolina Forest girls golf team captured the Region 6-5A [more]

Leave a Reply

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

© 2019 Grand Strand Sports Report · RSS
Myrtle Beach Web Design
Kayaking in Myrtle Beach