Jimmie Johnson: One "Lucky Dog"

Ben BombergerSenior Writer IAugust 5, 2009

LONG POND, PA - AUGUST 03:  The #48 crew changes a carburetor on the Lowes Chevrolet, driven by Jimmie Johnson, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at the Pocono Raceway on August 3, 2009 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

This past weekend at Pocono, Jimmie Johnson haters went from glee-full to depressed in a matter of minutes.

After suffering engine problems and barely being able to keep up minimum speed, Johnson and the No. 48 Lowe's team found themselves three laps down, and at the bottom of the running order.

After collecting the "Lucky Dog" three consecutive cautions, Johnson found himself back on the lead lap, battling for a top-15 finish.

Shortly there after, Johnson was interviewed by the media and said, "I'm just so proud of the fight this race team has. For us to come back from three laps down and get back on the lead lap and salvage a 13th-place finish means a lot to me. I think we're going in the right direction and it shows me what my team is capable of—and I know what I'm capable of going into the Chase."

The media ate up the comments and quickly declared Johnson as one of the best drivers to ever get behind the wheel of a stock car.

"Johnson defies odds and shows why he is the three-time defending champion," various media outlets reported.

In fact, Johnson almost got as much, if not more, attention than race winner Denny Hamlin.

Now, imagine this race took place prior to the "Lucky Dog" rule being imposed and it would have been a different story at the end of the race.

The media would have been talking about how a top championship contender's day was ended early after suffering engine problems and being mired three laps down.

Which leads me to my point of this article: NASCAR should limit the number of times a driver can receive the "Lucky Dog."

It's pretty basic. A driver is given a free pass around for being the first car one-lap down. Fair enough, but given three free passes? That's just insane.

In the closing laps, Johnson was passing cars that had worked hard all race to maintain a lead lap position.

Were they as good as Johnson?

Obviously not, because they were watching him go by, but they did earn their spot and were consistent all race long.

Consistency is a word that NASCAR doesn't like. Remember when the most consistent driver used to win the championship? That was before they began resetting the points with 10 races remaining.

This isn't just meant to beef on Johnson and the No. 48 team—they catch enough grief without this guy chiming in—but its a way of saying NASCAR needs to fix a problem within the system.