I’ve seen Jeff take issues with other drivers in the past, but I’ve become accustomed to the very centered mindset he’s had for quite some time.
Jimmie Johnson is the sport’s nicest guy out there. In fact, of late, I’ve come across a few articles talking about how sponsors want to love Jimmie Johnson, but he’s just not lively enough. He doensn’t generate a lot of emotion from the fans, aside from the standard, unappreciative disgruntlement that fans seem to find within themselves for someone who wins often and well.
When these two started rubbing fenders a few races back, I actually wasn’t taken by surprise at all. They were racing after all.
But then, as if on queue, the media swooped in on the fender paint swaps, making it a rivalry. And the media exposure was on.
I’m a curious and sometimes suspicious kind of consumer. When I’ve seen some print talking about how NASCAR needs a rivalry, then that Johnson isn’t spunky enough, we suddenly, as if well timed, had a rivalry between two of the nicer guys in the sport. Literally… that’s how I’ve been seeing these two.
They were slowly falling into the category that Mark Martin exemplifies each week. Race hard, save the paint, be repsectful. Something that can be admired, but it just doesn’t make for great headlines.
“Mark Marting politely wins another race, every molecule of paint, untouched.”
Nope, people don’t want to see that. It seems fans want, or NEED to be riled up about their favorite sport before they get vocal and generate attention for the it.
Now take Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski! After a number of car destroying wrecks, now that’s a rivalry. When all you have left are angry words, visits to the NASCAR trailer and lots of Ebay sheet metal left on the track.
Jeff and Jimmie? A rivalry? Thus, I’m making the inquiry: Is this “rivalry” just something manufactured to help the sport?
This is just another question, asked out loud from NASCAR Bits & pieces on Brusimm!
(PS: Of course, maybe I should have waited for Richmond to finish before going live with this conjecture!!!)