Jimmie Johnson would appreciate you not making superficial snap judgments based off the first four races of the season.
The defending Cup Series champion is 16th in the points standings and got his first top-10 finish of the season last week at Phoenix. But no, the No. 48 team isn’t having a championship hangover that’s going to last throughout the entirety of the 2017 season.
When asked about people “questioning” the team’s performance so far, Johnson dismissed whatever questions there may be.
“Sixteen years, 80 wins, and seven championships and people want to question us?” Johnson asked. “I mean come on.”
The man has a point. A record-tying seven championships earn you the benefit of the doubt. Especially after that seventh championship came after a so-so regular season (by Johnson’s standards) and in a playoff format that Johnson had never before conquered.
And besides, it’s not like the team has been really, really bad to start the year. He had a fast car at Phoenix and was running up front at Daytona when he was caught up in a crash thanks to a blown tire on Kyle Busch’s car. Johnson knows the team has things to work on but isn’t concerned.
“We haven’t executed as cleanly as we need to,” Johnson continued. “Daytona, we are running second or third and get crashed, last week we were a good top five, maybe top three car on the long run, but finished with some short restarts that was our weak point. Yeah, sure, absolutely we have work to do, but nobody should panic.”
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