NASCAR wants you to believe the Sprint Cup title isn’t a slam dunk for Jimmie Johnson as the series hits Homestead for the season finale. Mathematically, of course, that’s true. He could, as he did at Texas, get caught up in somebody else’s trouble and finish 40th or so.
And the Cleveland Browns might score 40 points Sunday. Could happen, but let’s get real. Homestead, despite its speed, is hardly a track that causes drivers to endure sleepless nights. If Johnson wanted to, he could drop back to the rear of the field Sunday and ride until all the start-and-park guys hit the garage, wait until Robby Gordon and Brad Keselowski wreck a few people and cruise to a top-20 finish.
Johnson insists he has every intention of racing for a win and giving Rick Hendrick his first Homestead victory, but he would be foolish to do anything risky until he has the title locked up. Again, the track just isn’t tough enough to cause the 48 any trouble unless fate intervenes.
Now, even with his lead, things would be quite different if the final race were at Daytona, Bristol or Darlington. Trouble awaits around any turn at those tracks. Having one of those as a finale won’t happen, but we can dream, right?
Lindsey Young is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press 24 years ago. He covers the Northwest Georgia prep beat and NASCAR. Lindsey’s hometown is Ringgold, Ga., and he graduated from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. He received an associate’s degree from Dalton Junior College (now Dalton State) and a bachelor’s degree in communications from UTC. He has won several writing awards, including two Tennessee Sports ...