I know a lot of people heard the comments Jimmie Johnson made about Carl Edwards and his restart following last Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway.
Everyone listen to me carefully to what I am going to say about that.
C’mon Jimmie! You are going to complain about a restart?
You are a five-time champion. You won the Daytona 500 for the second time three weeks ago. Yes, I know you are frustrated that you weren’t able to win back-to-back races, but c’mon.
Jimmie knows all too well that as the leader of the race, you are going to do every trick in the book to give yourself an advantage over your competitors. So let’s be real, you are going to do anything you can to win. Now, if it was something totally illegal, then I can see Jimmie being upset. It wasn’t that, plus come on; the guy hadn’t won a race in 70 races.
I know Jimmie wanted to rain on Carl Edward’s parade. That’s just the way drivers are wired up. They are ultra-competitive. It doesn’t matter if it’s racing stock cars, golf carts or flying kites, they want to win and beat the other guy. I would beat anything that once he took a look in the mirror Monday morning, Jimmie admitted to himself that he did the same thing Carl did somewhere along the way in his 61 wins.
Is there a protocol to restarts?
Yes, there is with NASCAR dictating you can’t beat the leader to the start/finish line. It’s the leader that restarts the race. There are set points off Turn 4 that he has a window, for the lack of a better term, from which he can restart the race.
Did Carl maybe fudge the protocol a bit to outfox the competition? Okay, probably he did, but again, it wasn’t glaringly illegal and the man was trying to break a super-long winless streak.
Liken it to an NFL quarterback who is trying to draw the defense offsides. What does he do? He changes the call and goes to a hard count. Sometimes a defensive tackle or defensive end is so jacked up they take the bait and jump offsides, giving the defense a 5-yard penalty.
To me it’s the same scenario with Carl last Sunday. I don’t see what he did was all that bad. NASCAR evidently took the same view because they never black-flagged Carl.
In the end, Carl gets a much-needed win. Jimmie, while obviously disappointed, sure is starting his 2013 season completely opposite his 2012 season. When Jimmie looks at the boxscores, he’s leading the points and has a win and second-place finish on the board in our first two races.