2018 versus 2017
Believe it or not, Jimmie Johnson’s season stats aren’t as bad as everyone is hyping them up to be. Again, some of that might have to do with Chevrolet working out the bugs on their new Camaro, but the stats between this year and last year aren’t that different. In fact, they really are quite similar in nature, which means that Johnson might just be going through a dry spell.
Below is the comparion between the first three races of 2017 and 2018.
Daytona 500 34th
Las Vegas 11th
Points position after three races 18th
Daytona 500 38th
Las vegas 12th
Points position after three races 29th
Interestingly enough Johnson is only about ten positions behind where he was last year and has almost identical finishes in some instances. With that being said, his finish at Atlanta this season, which was eight positions behind where he finished in 2017, is the biggest difference and is mostly responsible for setting him back a bit.
One also has to remember that there were many top Cup Series drivers including Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott and Kevin Harvick that struggled at Daytona, which means it isn’t a very fair indicator of what success a driver is going to have throughout a season. That’s not to say the races don’t count, but it has little impact on the big playoff picture.
Lastly, there is his finish at Las Vegas, which while it was disappointing to watch, was still in the same ball park as his finish in 2017. Sure, it might have backed him up a little bit in the points and will partly be responsible for his delayed entry into the top-16, but these are honestly some petty reasons to be hitting the panic bottom over.