With Jimmie Johnson’s win at the Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday night, the 48 team has solidified their status as the team that could possibly dethrone Kevin Harvick’s Stewart-Haas Racing team for the Sprint Cup championship in 2015.
At this point in the season, not much has changed from a year ago. He was winless yet stood sixth in points. This season, despite a 41st-place showing at Las Vegas and a 35th at Martinsville, Johnson has won twice (Atlanta, Texas) and once again sits sixth in points.
However, in 2006, 2007, 2010 and 2013 (four of Johnson’s six Cup titles), Johnson made it a point to win early and win often. Considering the elimination-style Chase for the Sprint Cup waiting after the 26th race of the season, that could prove effective in Johnson’s hunt for a seventh title.
However, Harvick is experiencing a Johnson-esque run of consistency coming off his 2014 Sprint Cup championship. He has finished in the top-10 in every race since the last visit to Texas and is consistently knocking on the door to more wins. Considering Johnson and Harvick have been swapping wins on the 1.5-mile tracks since the fall Texas race, don’t be surprised if Harvick takes Kansas, the next 1.5-mile race on the schedule.
Still, this is a position Johnson is familiar with, and one we shouldn’t be surprised to see him in. He’s a champion with a championship team, and it’s a good idea not to bet against him.
Two wins in seven starts? Competitors beware because Johnson seems to be on a mission. He’s bent on putting his dismal 2014 behind him and so far, he’s doing a great job of it. He’s won on every track coming up in the next month, so there’s no reason he won’t be able to keep up with Harvick’s SHR group.