Jimmie Johnson is going for seven titles, but isn’t the story at Media Tour


At the 2014 NASCAR media tour in Charlotte, Jimmie Johnson was fresh off his sixth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship and inadvertently at the center of a controversy when former NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb said Johnson “wasn’t an athlete.”

Johnson has the same goal for 2015 as a year ago – win multiple races and capture his record-tying seventh Cup championship.

But unlike last year, he isn’t the overall story heading into the season. He wasn’t even the biggest story on his own team Thursday — something crew chief Chad Knaus had fun with during a 2015 Media Tour.

Johnson discussed entering another year of stability with Knaus, primary sponsor Lowe’s, and a No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet crew that remains intact.

“I haven’t even thought about it,” Johnson said of the championship. “The championship seems so far away. We had a shot last year, and it came and went. It hasn’t been on my mind.

“The way we finished up the ’14 season isn’t something we’re happy with. We need to be better.

“This week is about Jeff Gordon and the introduction of Chase (Elliott) to the 24. But it’s weird to see someone you’ve idolized be retiring … ”

It was at that moment Gordon, among those most responsible for Johnson’s Cup success having discovered him more than a dozen years ago, morphed from teammate/driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet into Hendrick Motorsports media day court jester.

“I didn’t take that the way everyone else did!” he deadpanned, to much laughter.

“Yeah it’s a weird experience,” Johnson said. “We are seeing him start the process of the last year.”

Johnson poked fun at himeslf, too, noting a rare mistake he made in a recent triathlon.

“I added a couple miles… I missed a turn,” he said.

“You think you’d approach an intersection with eight cops there, and at least one would say you went the wrong way. I went straight on through. Then nobody was there. So I turned around.

“To everyone’s surprise, I did miss a left hand turn.”

Seattle Supercross by the numbers: Three riders separated by 17 points


Three riders remain locked in a tight battle with 17 points separating the leader Cooper Webb from third-place Chase Sexton and these are only a few Supercross numbers to consider entering Seattle.

Seattle Supercross numbers
Chase Sexton made a statement in Detroit with his second win of 2023. – Feld Motor Sports

For the fifth time in 10 rounds. Sexton, Webb, and Eli Tomac shared the podium in Detroit. Between them, the trio has taken 23 podiums, leaving only seven for the remainder of the field. Jason Anderson, Ken Roczen and Justin Barcia have two each with Aaron Plessinger scoring the other.

Webb and Tomac won the last four championships with two apiece in alternating years, but they were not one another’s primary rival for most of those seasons. On the average, however, the past four years show an incredible similarity with average points earned of 21.0 for Webb and 21.3 for Tomac. With five wins so far this season, Tomac (23 wins) leads Webb (19) in victories but Webb (43) edges Tomac (41) in podium finishes during this span.

Tomac has won two of the last three Seattle races and those two wins in this stadium are topped only by James Stewart. Fittingly, if Tomac gets a third win this week, he will tie Stewart for second on the all-time wins’ list. Tomac tied Ricky Carmichael for third with 48 wins at Oakland and took sole possession of that spot with his Daytona win.

Sexton still has a lot to say and after winning last week in Detroit, he is speaking up. The Supercross numbers are against him entering Seattle, however, because a points’ deficit this large after Round 10 has been erased only once. In 1983 David Bailey was 47 points behind Bob Hannah, and like Sexton he was also in third place. Bailey took the points’ lead with one race remaining.

The seven points Sexton was penalized last week for jumping in a red cross flag section in Detroit could prove extremely costly.

In fact, it has been a series of mistakes that has cost Sexton the most. In the last two weeks, he lost 10 points with a 10th-place finish to go with his penalty. Erase those, and all three riders hold their fate in their hands.

Plessinger’s heartbreak in Detroit is still fresh, but the upside of his run is that was his best of the season and could turn his fortunes around. Prior to that race, he led only seven laps in three mains. He was up front for 20 laps in Detroit with five of those being the fastest on the track.

Last week’s win by Hunter Lawrence tied him with his brother Jett Lawrence for 17th on the all-time wins’ list. With the focus shifting to 250 West for the next two rounds, Jett has a great opportunity to pull back ahead. The real test will be at the first East / West Showdown in East Rutherford, New Jersey on April 22.

Last Five Seattle Winners

2022: Eli Tomac
2019: Marvin Musquin
2018: Eli Tomac
2017: Marvin Musquin
2014: Ryan Villopoto

2022: Hunter Lawrence
2019: Dylan Ferrandis
2018: Aaron Plessinger
2017: Aaron Plessinger
2014: Cole Seely

By the Numbers

Anaheim 2
San Diego

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Power Rankings after Detroit
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Chase Sexton wins in Detroit, penalized seven points