This NASCAR season has seen a very familiar sight: the surging of a certain Hendrick Motorsports number 48 Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson has been in classic form this year by coming right out of the gate with a win in the Daytona 500. Then this last weekend in a dominant performance at Martinsville, he outclassed the competition by miles, winning from the pole position. It was as classic a Martinsville Johnson performance as it gets.
The simple fact is that if you want to find the best example of a NASCAR team that quickly adapts to change, then study the duo of Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus. While other teams have found it hard to switch to this new car format, the 48 team has embraced it and have been very comfortable.
This season, Johnson has only faltered at Bristol, a track he’s never been spectacular at, and then home track Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Besides that, Johnson has finished solidly or took a trip to victory lane.
When the 48 gets on a roll, he’s hard to stop. Just ask Brad Keselowski, who had his hands full in last year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup when Johnson won back-to-back in Martinsville then this weekend’s track Texas Motor Speedway.
At that point, the only one who can stop the 48 team is the 48 team. A cut tire and mechanical issues stopped the dominant performance of the team last year, but don’t be counting on it this year. Indeed, Johnson could pull a repeat again this weekend and is likely to.