Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

Jimmie Johnson Going For Six Straight Titles Is Bad For NASCAR

Jimmy Johnson
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Jimmie Johnson has won five straight Sprint Cup titles and a win last week has him in third place with just six races to go.

Dynasties are normally good for sports.

The Bulls, the Yankees, Tiger Woods and the Williams sisters I believe have all been good for their respective sports.

But Jimmie Johnson winning a sixth consecutive title is not.


Because NASCAR is struggling with bringing back the casual fanbase that was with them just five or six years ago. And the truth is, that general population believes that winning in NASCAR is more about technological advantage than pure talent.

To confirm my suspicion, as a sample, I took a Twitter poll: What can you most attribute to NASCAR success: The driver, the car or the crew. More than 100 people voted and 48 percent of them said the car (31 percent the driver and 21 percent the crew).

What's wrong with this? Because a sports fan is used to talent, not technology, prevailing. Tiger Woods and Serena Williams didn't win because they had the best equipment. The fact that George Steinbrenner had more money enabled him to buy more talent, but did the Yankees win because they had better bats or a better ballpark? Of course not.

And that's exactly the problem. Those who aren't natural fans of car racing have a hard time understanding what exactly the driver is doing. When you have a driver as dominant as Jimmie Johnson is, its easier to say (whether it's true or not) that it's about the equipment more than it is of the driver.

The American sports fan doesn't like that.

Questions?  Comments?