When the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship prediction ballot came out a couple of weeks ago, I wanted to pick somebody other than Jimmie Johnson to win the title. Denny Hamlin, with a break here or there, could have won it last year. It could be time for Jeff Gordon or Tony Stewart, the last guy not named Jimmie Johnson to win the Sprint Cup title, to take a turn as champion. Maybe neighborhood bully Kevin Harvick will bump enough people out of the way to win the big trophy.
But when the green flag dropped to make the pick, I reluctantly picked Johnson. The reluctance wasn't because any particular dislike for Johnson. Other than goofing around on a golf cart and falling and breaking his wrist between the 2006 and 2007 seasons, he's done nothing to warrant national negative attention.
The reluctance comes because at some point, the championship run has to end. But Johnson and crew chief Chad Knauss have those last 10 races in the Chase for the Championship figured out. There was no change in the schedule, so there's no reason to think they won't have the end game figured out again.