Jimmie Johnson won his 47th career nascar victory Sunday at Phoenix. He is on his way to a history breaking 4th championship in a row.
Many people believe that this will make Jimmie Johnson the greatest driver of all time surpassing Dale Earnhardt.
It even led Boris Said to say "No disrespect to Dale Earnhardt Sr but Jimmie Johnson is the greatest nascar driver of all time."
Others like Michael Waltrip claim that Jimmie is the best nascar driver of all time as well.
I respectfully disagree.
In fact I will go as far as saying it is a pure insult to even put Dale Earnhardt and Jimmie Johnson in the same sentence.
Dale Earnhardt grew up racing on dirt tracks beating and banging his way to wins. In his first cup start he was running 2nd, tried to win, spun out, and when asked why he didn't just settle for 2nd he said "2nd is first loser."
Dale Earnhardt won 7 championships between 3 different crew chiefs. His first in only his 2nd season (a record that still stands) with Doug Richert. 4 championships with Kirk Shelmerdine, and his last 2 with now Espn commentator Andy Petree. Jimmie Johnson has had the pleasure ever since stepping into a cup car to work with perhaps the greatest crew chief of all time, Chad Knaus.
Dale Earnhardt struck fear into his competitors hearts. He knew how to play mind games with other drivers. Whenever he was behind another driver he had the ability to force that driver into making a mistake. Seeing the Black 3 unload from the hauler gave chills to all the drivers.
Jimmie Johnson tried playing mind games in 2005, only to spin out and crash in the final race of the season at Homestead and drop from 2nd to 5th in the point standings.
Dale was a personality. He could really connect with the fans and look real and act real.
Jimmie Johnson is more than likely the least relateable driver in NASCAR. His personality or lack there of leaves a lot to be desired. His corporate america attitude doesn't connect well with fans.
Dale could turn a 20th place car into a top 5 car. He just had a way to make up for any sub par equipment he was given.
Jimmie Johnson has shown over the years that the rare times he actually receives an ill handling 15th to 20th place racecar he actually runs there, 15th to 20th. In fact in 2008 at Las Vegas he ran 39th 5 laps down all day. The attrition rate worked in his favor and he finished 29th.
Dale Earnhardt in his first few season in cup went to a brand new team with a rookie crew chief and won races and a championship. Then he went to Richard Childress racing a team that was raced by driver/owner Richard Childress who had a best career finish of 3rd in a race and the rest is history winning 69 races and 6 cup series championships for RCR.
Jimmie Johnson went to Hendrick motorsports right after Jeff Gorodn had won his 4th championship and his 5th for Hendrick. Jimmie was given Jeff Gordon's 2001 championship cars in his rookie season.
So any way you slice it Dale Earnhardt showed throughout his memorable and great career that he was, is, and forever will be the greatest NASCAR driver of all time. I am sure Jimmie has a place in history just not in the same breath as Dale Earnhardt.
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