Have any of you seen the new Sports Illustrated Special Collector's Issue of the NASCAR '07 Preview and '06 Review? Take a close look, where do you see Jimmie Johnson? Yap, that's him in the lower right corner.
Now look who is on the cover. NASCAR's current Poster Boys; Dale Jr and Juan Montoya. Earnhardt Jr who has never won a Championship and finished 5th in points this year and Juan Montoya who has just one Cup race under his belt and this year's favourite Rookie of The Year Candidate.
Jimmie Johnson had a dream season - he won the Daytona 500, the All-Star Race, the Indy 400, and the Championship! There are a lot of previous Champions who have season envy right now let me tell you. If Johnson never wins another Championship at least he'll have the memory of having this near perfect season and Championship win.
So why isn't he on the cover of SI? Easy, his image doesn't sell magazines. Dale Jr is easily NASCAR's most popular driver, so you have to have him on the cover right? You bet. Juan Montoya is a F1-defecting-Spanish-speaking-visible-minority and that makes him the poster child of NASCAR's diversity program, so you have to have him on the cover right? You bet.
Johnson is just added on almost as an after thought. Give the man his due will you. I'm not one of the 'Gordon Clone's' biggest fans but I at least respect him for what he has accomplished. Not even Dale Earnhardt had a season like that, winning the races he did - and let's face it he would have won the fall Talladega race if Vickers didn't bump him out of the way, Jr was a sitting duck and had no chance once Jimmie pulled alongside him.
If now one else is going to do it, I will: Congratulations Jimmie on your excellent season!
I wonder who'll be on the cover of NASCAR's Official Preview and Press Guide when it comes out later this month. I hope at least NASCAR will give Jimmie his due.