Jimmie Johnson is chasing an eighth championship and while it is still early in the 2018 season, he is doing little to prove that he and his team are anywhere near Championship caliber. In fact, Johnson has failed to finish in the top-ten in the first three races of the season and is still sitting outside the top 25 in points as well.
Fortunately for Jimmie Johnson, there are a couple of stats that are actually on Johnson’s side and could result in fans seeing a quick turn around for the #48 team. Of course, the struggle of Chevrolet drivers in the first three races of the season aren’t helping anything and are a huge question mark in regards to their championship chances, but pressing the panic button is still premature.
2018 versus 2017
Believe it or not, Jimmie Johnson’s season stats aren’t as bad as everyone is hyping them up to be. Again, some of that might have to do with Chevrolet working out the bugs on their new Camaro, but the stats between this year and last year aren’t that different. In fact, they really are quite similar in nature, which means that Johnson might just be going through a dry spell.
Below is the comparison between the first three races of 2017 and 2018.
Daytona 500 34th
Las Vegas 11th
Points position after three races 18th
Daytona 500 38th
Las Vegas 12th
Points position after three races 29th
Interestingly enough Johnson is only about ten positions behind where he was last year and has almost identical finishes in some instances. With that being said, his finish at Atlanta this season, which was eight positions behind where he finished in 2017, is the biggest difference and is mostly responsible for setting him back a bit.
Lack of storylines causing NASCAR to get desperate.
As has been proven above, Jimmie Johnson’s slump is not as bad as some media outlets are making it out to be! Unfortunately for Johnson and NASCAR to some extent, the sport is having trouble kick-starting its promised rookies versus veterans storyline and needs something interesting to satisfy fans in the meantime.
In fact, why is NASCAR choosing to waste their time on covering Johnson’s supposed, downfall, instead of focusing on why other drivers are struggling. All of this would be fine if Johnson was the only one struggling to put themselves in a position to make the playoffs, but it just looks ridiculous when NASCAR chooses to focus on one driver’s struggles and not on others.
Time to win?
While Jimmie Johnson has been known to win early and often, that hasn’t really worked for him the past couple of years. In fact, it took Johnson seven races to finally go to victory lane at the start of 2017 and that’s not even his longest losing streak either. That honor goes to the 2014 and 2003 season, where it took Johnson 12 races to reach victory lane.
Going back to last season, it took Johnson seven races to go to victory lane before he finally won at Texas Motor Speedway. With that in mind and Johnson having several tracks that he excels at coming up on the schedule, it’s probably useless to start worrying until Johnson reaches the tenth race of the season without a win or a spot in the playoffs.