By now, there is no secret about who fans will be blaming if Jimmie Johnson ends up falling short of winning a record-breaking fourth-consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title. The blame, regardless of how many points Johnson were to lose by, in most peoples’ eyes, would fall squarely on the shoulders of David Reutimann and Sam Hornish Jr. Rightfully, or otherwise.
If Johnson does not win the 2009 title, the general consensus, obviously, is that Mark Martin will be the guy hoisting the Sprint Cup trophy over his head in Homestead. However, I have one question I’d like to raise:
What if Mark loses?
If a Johnson loss were to fall on the shoulders of a pair of full-time, non-Chase drivers, then who’s to blame if Martin doesn’t win the title?
Let’s say we go through the next two races, and nothing eventful happens to either driver. Obviously, Jimmie would be the champ, with both drivers ending up with merely one mulligan in the Chase.
But if the blame for a Johnson loss falls on the shoulders of the guys who caused his mulligan, would the blame for a Martin loss fall on the shoulders of the guy who caused his mulligan, Brad Keselowski?
Remember, it was at Talladega, coming to take the white flag, where Keselowski, a part-time driver, turned Kurt Busch around on the front stretch. The accident resulted in several cars bouncing off one another, eventually forcing Martin to barrel-roll through a portion of the tri-oval. Martin’s accident resulted in a 28th-place finish for the second-place points man.
Would it be fair to say, then, that if Mark Martin does not win the championship, the blame could be placed on Keselowski’s shoulders? After all, if Hornish and Reutimann have to take the blame for Johnson’s issues, it only seems fair that blame be cast at Keselowski for Martin’s.
There is no question that, if Jimmie Johnson loses the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup championship, Hornish and Reutimann will be blamed.
But what if Mark loses?