Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Jimmie Johnson wins Sprint Cup Series Trophy

For the sixth time in eight years, Jimmie Johnson sits atop the NASCAR universe. Although he only finished in 9th place during the Ford EcoBoost 400 (Denny Hamlin won the race), he gathered enough points to secure the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Trophy after winning six races and amassing 2,419 points in 2013.

Matt Kenseth, who finished second in the EcoBoost 400, ended up right on his heels with exactly 2,400 points. It wasn’t enough to hold off Johnson, though, who won five consecutive Sprint Cup Series titles from 2006-2010. The win marks the 11th championship in 19 years for Hendrick Motorsports.

Commonly referred to as “Five-Time” for that astonishing championship streak in the mid-2000’s, Johnson has recently given himself a new nickname; #Six-Pack. He has been referring to himself as this on Twitter (hence the hashtag) in the weeks leading up to the EcoBoost 400.

The win puts Johnson in some pretty elite company. He is now one of only three drivers, along with Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt, to win at least six NASCAR series championships.

“I’m at a loss for words," Johnson told reporters after the race. "I’m so thankful for this opportunity at Hendrick Motorsports. Thankful that Jeff Gordon and Rick Hendrick gave us this opportunity back in 2002.”

It was then that Johnson started racing full-time in the Sprint Cup Series (formerly known as the Winston Cup Series). Johnson earned his first ever pole position at the 44th Daytona 500 in 2002, making him only the second rookie in NASCAR history to do so. Since then Johnson has won 66 career races, making him one of the most decorated and accomplished racers of this generation.

Johnson got his racing career started by riding motorcycles as a kid. He even won the 60cc class championship in 1983, which just goes to show, everyone’s got to start somewhere.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Advocare 500: Brief History & Preview

This Sunday, Nov. 10, will mark the second to last date on NASCAR’s 2013 Sprint Cup Series schedule. Not to be confused with the Advocare 500 held in Atlanta each year (and won by Kyle Busch this past September), the Advocare 500 will take place at the Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. It will be the 25th anniversary of the race at the Phoenix track but only the second year of the Advocare sponsor. 

The race is one of four NASCAR races that are measured in kilometers, along with the Subway Fresh Fit 500, the Toyota/Save Mart 350 and the Cheez-It 355. The distance of the race is 312 miles (502.115 kilometers) and the winner needs to lap the track 312 times to win. 

Hendrick Motorsports has dominated the mid-November race for the better part of this millennium, as Jimmie Johnson (three straight wins from 2007-2009) and Kyle Busch (2005 winner) have combined to win four of the last eight events. Kevin Harvick of Richard Childress Racing has won it twice since 2008, including last year’s event. Harvick can really do himself some good by winning the race again this year, as he is in third place in the Sprint Cup Standings with 2,302 points. Matt Kenseth of Joe Gibbs Racing is in second with 2,335 points and Jimmie Johnson currently sits atop the leaderboard with 2,342 points.
Johnson won last week’s AAA Texas 500 and avoided further conflict with Greg Biffle, who confronted him after a race at Martinsville, VA in late October. Biffle has since apologized for the outburst in which he grabbed Johnson by the collar and told him “you better watch it,” and the confrontation looks to be water under the bridge from this point forward. 

The Advocare 500 will start at 3 p.m. ET. The Ford Ecoboost 400 will be the final race of the Series and will take place on Sunday, Nov. 17.