Jimmie Johnson: What AdvoCare 500 Win Would Mean for His Legacy

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistNovember 9, 2012

Jimmie Johnson made his fifth trip to Victory Lane in 2012 with a win at Texas.
Jimmie Johnson made his fifth trip to Victory Lane in 2012 with a win at Texas.Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Jimmie Johnson is driving his way to an unbelievable legacy.

A win at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday would bring him one step closer to solidifying his place as one of the Top 3 racers of all time.

Johnson has won the last two Sprint Cup races at Martinsville and Texas heading into a track where he has had plenty of success.

Johnson enters the race with a seven point lead over Brad Keselowski and the "Blue Deuce" team.

He likely would not be able to clinch the championship as some wild scenarios would have to play out to keep Keselowski out of the hunt next week at Homestead-Miami, and that only adds to the significance of the race.

The No. 48 Team, however, has won four races at the tri-oval including three times during the Chase. In 18 career runs at Phoenix, Johnson has an average finish of 5.3.

Earlier this season, he finished fourth at the repaved track.

A top 10 finish would give Jimmie a career-best of 25 in a season, while a top 5 result keeps him on track to match his personal record of 20.

What many fail to recognize is that we are witnessing one of the most dominant athletes of all time.

"But NASCAR drivers aren't athletes! *whine whine whine*"

Be quiet.

Keep the car stable going 200mph at Talladega and Pocono, constantly accelerate and slow down at Martinsville and Bristol and combine the two at 1.5 mile tracks.

Now, do it for hours on end. For nine months. And win. Consistently.

Jimmie can. Can you?

He won 60 times in his career. He was the fourth-fastest to 50 wins as Nate Ryan of the USA Today pointed out two years ago.

The fewest times he's won a race in a season is two. And the most trips to Victory Lane in a single year? How about 10!

Every NASCAR driver's goal is to win some races, but he and crew chief Chad Knaus have battled to five championships, people.


Next on the career list would be Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty with seven. It is entirely possible that the 48 Team reaches that number and even exceeds it with eight or nine.

Beyond wins and championships—though how much farther do you even need to look?—Johnson has 29 career poles and a starting position of 10.9 while averaging 35 laps led per race. He has ended on the lead lap 77.8 percent of the time posting an 11.6 average finish.

2012 is simply another step in continuing the Hendrick Motorsports 48 Team's ever-improving dynasty.

Jimmie's hunt for a sixth title would get a huge boost with a win at Phoenix.

And this is my plea: Please, Jimmie. Win it all.

Because many still don't know what they're witnessing.