Jimmie Johnson has won four straight Sprint Cup titles, something no other driver has done. That makes him the most dominant driver of all time during any four-year span, right? The answer is no, according to the Wall Street Journal. (Brief aside: I love the Journal. Great newspaper. But when it weighs in on NASCAR, awkward things like this tend to happen. So I take this piece with a grain of salt.)
According to writer David Biderman, Johnson is not the most dominant champion in history. He added up the numbers over various four-year spans. This is what he found:
- Johnson’s win frequency is lower than Darrell Waltrip, Dale Earnhardt and Cale Yarborough during their most dominating four-year stretches
- Richard Petty finished in the top five 24 percent more often than Johnson
- From 1976-79 Yarborough finished in the top five 73.6 percent of the time (which is amazing) compared to Johnson’s 44.4 percent (which is still pretty good)
The Journal knows what you’re going to say next. The fields are bigger now than they were back then. The Journal points out that during Jeff Gordon’s 1995-98 run he finished in the top five 67.7 percent of the time and won 31.5 percent of his races, which is the best winning percentage of any driver from any era.
That said, none of the other guys ever won four in a row. So Jimmie fans, feel free to say, "Scoreboard!"
Jimmie Johnson still trails NASCAR’s legends (Wall Street Journal)