Welcome to Warped Wednesday. On this, we'll put out the rush to judgment mat, go a little too far and have a little fun. Will it be funny? Sometimes. Will it be crazy and largely unbelievable? Probably. Will not everyone get it? Definitely. Though this week? Seems lots of folks find our topic all too believable.
It's common knowledge among many in the outer-circle that NASCAR allows Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus to cheat and does everything in its power to allow them to win, but Johnson's admission on Monday of those facts is absolutely abhorrent.
You haters have it right. I'm a bad teammate, I have a cheated up car, I'm lucky and the race was fixed. Gotta love twitter & #NascarFans.
— Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) April 8, 2013
Much like a secret fine should stay secret, a secret mandate should also stay secret. Many times NASCAR has been likened to the WWE because of the preponderance of scripts in both disciplines. However, it's necessary to note that the WWE knows you know it's fixed. NASCAR does not.
It's important to maintain the impression of fair and balanced, much like a certain cable news network, so that the series can position itself as a serious sport. Why would a multi-million dollar company enter NASCAR if it knew that Johnson and Lowe's were being handed the championship every year? Think of those ramifications for other teams. By admitting what many NASCAR fans are convinced of, Johnson is endangering the careers of many within racing.
He is already in hot water with NASCAR for dropping the championship opportunity that NASCAR gave him last season. 2011 went as planned; Johnson can't win the title every season, lest NASCAR risk the secret getting out even more. Usually, the scripts are ensured to work given NASCAR's "48 special" templates that tweak at the push of a button when the 48 rolls up to the inspection bay. But a cheated up car can't overcome a cut tire.
That tire failure at Phoenix was like the star performer of a play coming down with strep throat two hours before the show premiere. The sanctioning body didn't have enough time to recover and was forced to go with Brad Keselowski as its champion.
The pass of Dale Earnhardt Jr. while he was sitting there after his spin? That was all part of the cleverly designed heel turn as well. NASCAR knows that the only thing that sells more tickets or gets more victories than a Junior win is a Johnson win combined with a diss of the "sport's" most popular driver. And besides, Junior being at the top of the points standings for an extended period of time is too much of a cruel thing to do to a fanbase, as NASCAR is patterning his career after Ted DiBiase's.
NASCAR knows that it's secret will get out at some point in the future. They just weren't banking on it being this year, the year of the heralded and miracle healing Gen-6 car. If Denny Hamlin's comments about that car were worth a fine for disparaging the sport, I can only imagine the discussions that NASCAR executives are having right now about Johnson's tweet. Will it be a seven-figure fine? A multiple-race suspension? Or will it be nothing at all, with NASCAR choosing rather to play it off as a tongue-in-cheek comment that doesn't merit a response?
We're about to find out.