Before I start I would just like to say I hope to all who read this you enjoy reading this as much as I have writing it.
We have all asked ourselves at one point or another what would happen if our favorite or least favorite driver had made different moves in their career. Where would they be who would they be driving for and most importantly would they be as successful. In a series of blogs hopefully once a week I will try to answer those questions with my own knowledge and other resources.
Most of us know the story of Jimmie Johnson and how he talked to Jeff Gordon about his future in racing. For those who don't here is a quick recap. In 1998 SODA driver Jimmie Johnson decided to take a stab at racing stock cars. He raced in ASA taking rookie of the year honors and also the Busch Series in 3 races for Tad Geschickter and Mike Curb with decent results. In 1999 his SODA team he drove for in Herzog Motorsports made the jump to stock cars entering Jimmie in 5 races eventually grabbing Alltel sponsorship for a full time ride in 2000. In 2000 about mid way through the season Alltel announced it would be leaving at the end of 2000 and go to Penske Racing and rookie driver Ryan Newman. Feeling the pressure Jimmie went and talked to Jeff Gordon in the drivers meeting about what to do and Jeff eventually helped Jimmie sign up with Hendrick Motorsports and the rest is history. But I want to talk about what would have happened if Jimmie never talked to Jeff and decided to wait it out and see what happened.
As we know in 2001 Jimmie got sponsorship with Excedrin which was a 2 year deal. He finished 2001 8th in points and had one win. In 2002 I would have been better for the team. 2 or 3 wins would have not been out of the realm of possibility for Jimmie which would leave him with another top 10 points finish. In 2003 Herzog would need new sponsorship and I think with there success from 2002 they would have no trouble finding a sponsor. For Jimmie though this would be an important year I think he would realize this is as far as he would get with Herzog and would be looking for another team for 2004. But where to go. There would have been many options Roush Racing in the #60, NEMCO Motorsports in the #87, Bill Davis in the #23, Todd Braun in the #32, and Brewco in the #27 are just a few options he would have had for 2004. He could have also returned to off-road racing where he had so much success. But if he was able to get with one of these teams he would be a defiant title contender in 2004 with a move to Nextel Cup in 2005 with a mid-level team like Bill Davis Racing or PPI Motorsports. Either way I don't see him having the success he has now he would more than likely by 2010 would be driving for Front Row or Tommy Baldwin or he could be if he got in the #60 with Jack Roush in 2004 probably in the #6 or even the #99. But I think he would have gone back to off-road racing probably racing in CORR.
But if this is what happens what about Jimmie 4 cups. In 2006 it would have close fight with Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick. Matt would have won and run Jeff Gordon pretty close 2007 with Jeff finally getting tittle number 5. In 2008 it would have been a Roush one two with Carl Edwards winning and Greg Biffle finishing second. In 2009 Mark Martin would have finally broken through but it would close with Jeff running him hard in the final races.
This is my best guess based on my research of what would have happened if you believe I got anything wrong or have a different opinion of what might have happened please feel free to commit and I will respond on the comments Thanks for reading.
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