“Champion” is his middle name

The world’s top athletes try to create a legacy for themselves by winning championships in their respective sports. Michael Jordan, Babe Ruth, and Jerry Rice are a few names which stand the test of time due their athletic accomplishments. Each one of these athletes has won titles, and they have won them through hard work and perseverance. Their teams are also due credit as well because there is no “I” in “TEAM.”

It is debatable whether each one of these athletes is the best of all-time or if they are even considered the top in their sport. There is, however, one man who makes a strong case to be the best of all-time in his sport. He wears a fire suit on Sundays with Lowe’s across his chest, and he has won six championships in the past eight years.

Jimmy Johnson achieved the unthinkable on November 17, 2013. He stood in victory lane, cementing himself as one of the best NASCAR drivers of all-time. As the cameras flashed, the champagne was being popped, and the driver of the number 48 had a smile on his face ear to ear. It is hard enough to win a single championship in a 43 car field, but Johnson has done it six times. And if you think he has any plans of coasting his way into history, then think again. He is going to try and win as many as he can. He is now only two championships away from having the all-time record.

Coach Bengel, one of the biggest NASCAR fans at Elder High School, does not have his allegiances to just one driver. “I have a lot of drivers I cheer for; it’s not like other sports where you only have one specific person,” said Bengel. “That being said the guy, I cheer for the most is Dale Jr. with Tony Stewart being a close second.”

The NASCAR season began on February 24th at Daytona International Speedway. This is the beginning of a long, grueling season which allows tempers to fly and makes victory taste sweet. It is hard to produce a championship team. Each car has an owner who hires drivers, and an owner’s goal is to build the best team possible. A team is comprised of a crew chief, pit crew, spotter, and driver. All four of these components have to work like a well-oiled machine.

The Lowe’s team has been running flawlessly for many years. There are times where mistakes are made, but they are one of the most efficient teams in the Sprint Cup Series.

NASCAR has been a sport which has been ridiculed by many because it does not seem like a sport. These people do not know the physicality which is needed to race a car in the Sprint Cup Series. The cars get extremely hot, and drivers can lose 10-15 pounds per race. This requires many drivers to stick to a tough diet throughout the racing season. One driver who is notoriously known for packing on the pounds is Tony Stewart. He is sponsored by Burger King, and he takes advantage of the free whoppers.

“Can JJ play in the NBA, would he be able to compete in the NFL, no. But is he an endurance athlete, yes. For one JJ is an endurance athlete competing in triathlons & road races (winner in his age group in a Tri & a 1:29 half marathoner (that’s under 7 minute miles) outside of NASCAR,” said the freshman basketball coach. But to be able to withstand the 3 hours in the race car & not lose mental focus or experience physical fatigue is the sign of an athlete.”

The strength needed to drive a race car is equal to that of any other sport. NASCAR requires endurance since the races last up to 500 miles with cars maintaining speeds of 200-plus miles per hour.
Johnson’s six championships in eight years, which include five straight (2006-2010), is unprecedented in any sport. Richard “The King” Petty ruled the sport with his 200 wins and seven championships. When one hears Petty they normally hear Earnhardt Sr. as well. These two drivers are known as the best drivers of all-time. Now Johnson is standing along with them. At 37, Johnson is the youngest driver to win six championships.

Bengel also said, “If you judge an athlete solely on how many championships he has one, then yes he is one of the best athletes of all-time. If you judge an athlete by skill, then you enter the ultimate argument.

These past eight years have been dominated by Johnson, and no other athlete has had a stretch like him. There is one question left on the table when it comes to Jimmy Johnson. Is he the best athlete of all-time?