Rick Hendrick says Jimmie Johnson's dominance doesn't make NASCAR boring
Although the sour U.S. economy might be the main culprit behind a slip in NASCAR's fortunes, some observers also have suggested that Jimmie Johnson's dominance over the last four years has made the racing too boring and partially accounts for a drop in NASCAR's television ratings.
Not so, said his team owner, Rick Hendrick.
"I don't think that's hurt NASCAR at all," Hendrick said today before the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway, where Johnson hopes to pad his series point lead and move closer to a record fourth consecutive Cup championship.
"We can look for reasons that things are probably not as good as we'd like them to be" in terms of NASCAR's popularity and financial health, "but I don't think Jimmie Johnson's success has got anything to do with it," Hendrick said. "That's his job, to come out here and do the best he can."
Johnson entered today's race with a 73-point lead over his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Mark Martin with two races left in NASCAR's late-season Chase for the Cup playoff. The season finale is next Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida.
“I look back at when Jeff [Gordon] was winning like he was or [Dale] Earnhardt was winning all the championships in a row," Hendrick said. "People went to the track to see them get beat. So I think people are going to show up to see Jimmie get beat, and these [other NASCAR] teams are going to rally and work hard to do that.”
-- Jim Peltz in Avondale, Ariz.Photo: Jimmie Johnson's Chevrolet is pushed to the grid before the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race today at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Ariz. Credit: Mark J. Rebilas / US Presswire