Now that Jimmie Johnson has won a sixth Sprint Cup championship, how many more titles can he still win?
Johnson just turned 38 two months ago. He keeps himself in excellent physical shape by running and biking—tell that to Donovan McNabb, who doesn't think NASCAR drivers are athletes—and his wit is as sharp as a tack.
With the condition he's in and the high level of success he has maintained over the last decade, it's not a stretch to say Johnson has at least another eight to 10 years of racing still ahead of him.
And at the rate he's going, with six championships in the last eight seasons, it's not out of the realm of possibility that Johnson could go on to win another three, four or maybe even more championships before he hangs up his firesuit and helmet for good.
Amid all the celebration Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, one thing seemed lost on most of the media members in attendance. Sure, Johnson had just elevated his nickname to "six pack," but something much more significant also emerged that should have his competitors and NASCAR fans already starting to feel a bit uneasy.
That is, what if Sunday's championship is the start of yet another dynasty for Johnson? What if Sunday kicked off another two-, three-, four- or even five-year run of championships?
Remember the Chicago Bulls? They won three straight championships from 1991 to 1993, and then came back to win another three straight from 1996 to 1998.
Johnson could do the same thing, starting on his next five titles on Sunday.
What if by the end of this decade, Johnson amasses 10 championships in total? Given that he's already won six, another four in the next six years doesn't seem all that much out of the realm of possibility.
With the way he dominated this past season, starting by winning the season-opening Daytona 500 for the second time in his career (and then came back to win July's Coke Zero 400 there), coupled with leading the standings for 28 of the season's 36 weeks, it's pretty clear Johnson has not lost a thing from the same guy who won the previous five titles.
And, other than Matt Kenseth, who gave Johnson all he could handle for most of the season, what other driver could mount a serious challenge to Johnson next season?
Maybe Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch (soon to be new teammates at Stewart-Haas Racing), and perhaps Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart (if the latter recovers fully from injuries that cost him nearly four months of this season).
But none of those drivers has been able to hold a candle to Johnson on a consistent basis year after year. Frankly, Johnson has been a machine in the last 12 seasons: Since 2002, he's captured six championships, had two runner-up showings, a third-place showing and has never finished lower than sixth in any season.
If that isn't dominating and dynastic, I don't know what is.
So, NASCAR fans, you might as well accept what appears to be inevitable: Jimmie's back—and there's still a lot more championship trophies to come with his name all but already on them.
Follow me on Twitter @JerryBonkowski
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