Jimmie Johnson is on the cover of the new Sports Illustrated, as you can see at right. Jimmie Johnson is also charging hard upward through the Sprint Cup standings, as you can see by consulting any media outlet/fan site/Twitter page/Facebook/infield campfire, where cries of "OH MY GOD THE 48 IS GOING TO WIN HIS SIXTH AND DOOM NASCAR AS WE KNOW IT" resound throughout the heavens.
Here's the question, though. You've heard of the famous "Sports Illustrated Curse," where anyone who's been on the cover of the magazine suddenly explodes/implodes/bursts into flame/catches ebola/whatever.
So will it happen to Johnson? Will he suddenly see parts flying off his car mid-race in Charlotte? Will Chad Knaus wake up with laryngitis and have to resort to waving semaphore flags as the 48 goes past? Maybe yes, maybe no; Johnson was on the cover once before, back in 2008, and we know how that turned out.
The article within gives a little more insight into Johnson's run; writer Lars Anderson spent three days around Johnson leading up to Sunday's win at Kansas. And the portrait is of a guy who's in no way satisfied with just five Cups, even if everyone else is happy to see him done:
"People wrote us off just two weeks ago, but man, we are coming on," Johnson said in the article. "This is our time of the year, and I just can't wait to get out there and flex some muscle."
And even after the victory, Johnson wasn't satisfied. "I think my stress level is close to an all-time high," he said. "This was a great step forward, but we have to keep it going."
Find the copy of Sports Illustrated this week wherever magazines are sold, or in your doctor's office two years from now.