Last week in NASCAR there was talk about some of the drivers who started in this sport with lots of promise and expectations. That talk led to discussions on how Jimmie Johnson’s dominance affected the sport.
They might as well start building the Jimmie Johnson wing in the NASCAR Hall of fame because he is that good and will beat the numbers put up by the drivers who are already in the Hall. That’s an article for another day but he will at least get to and exceed Dale Earnhardt’s number of championships and race wins.
The discussion about those drivers that came into the sport with lots of expectations ran the gamut of they weren’t that good to begin with to economic problems not of their doing. Those questions also lead to another one. What if Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus were not paired together or in the sport? Could the fact that they were so good have kept other drivers from getting those race wins and championships?
So in the interest of answering those questions or just realizing the question is silly to begin with here it goes. The answers will surprise you.
The rules are simple. For each of the 63 race wins and five championships those were given to the runner up. Sure drivers like Ryan Newman, Jamie McMurray, and Casey Mears who have not lived up to their expectations would have gotten an additional win but so would Bill Elliott, Brad Keselowski, Jeremy Mayfield, Kasey Kahne, Michael Waltrip, Ricky Rudd, and Robby Gordon. Hardly career changing numbers.
Bobby Labonte, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Burton would each get two additional wins. This would have been good for them but not career changers.
Here is where it gets interesting. The following is the eleven drivers whose career would have been much different.