Does Harvick being competitive prove that Johnson has plenty left in the tank?

JJ_14

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We all know the last few years of Jimmie Johnson's career were pretty brutal. He didn't win in his last 3 seasons, although JJ came close a few times, like the Roval in 2018.

That being said, what many don't mention is that Hendrick as a whole was struggling. At one point, there were talks about downsizing to 3 cars. That's how bad they were performing.

Taking into consideration what I mentioned, do you think Johnson could come back & pull a Mark Martin? Hendrick has improved greatly since he retired. In 2020 they were still awful but found speed towards the end of the season, culminating with a Chase Elliott title.

With the speed that Hendrick & Chevy have now, I think Jimmie could contend for wins. Give him a part time ride @ Kaulig & he'd probably surprise with his performance.

His crash @ Pocono wasn't the real issue as far as I'm concerned. I could be wrong though.
 

2 Sweet

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At one point, there were talks about downsizing to 3 cars.

Talk from the fans? Sure. Talk from within HMS? Very unlikely.

The difference is that JJ was still being outperformed by his teammates, whereas Harvick has been the best car at SHR by a good margin. I think JJ was smart to get out when he did. Could he come back for a few races and be competitive? Maybe he would fare better in the new car, maybe not.
 

JJ_14

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Talk from the fans? Sure. Talk from within HMS? Very unlikely.

The difference is that JJ was still being outperformed by his teammates, whereas Harvick has been the best car at SHR by a good margin. I think JJ was smart to get out when he did. Could he come back for a few races and be competitive? Maybe he would fare better in the new car, maybe not.
That's a good point. I do think he retired a bit early, would've loved to see him get that 8th title. That would've put him ahead of Petty in my eyes.
 

2 Sweet

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That's a good point. I do think he retired a bit early, would've loved to see him get that 8th title. That would've put him ahead of Petty in my eyes.

I just don't see how Jimmie could have turned it around. Jeff Gordon was still competing for wins when he retired, came back the next year for a dozen races, and usually ran outside the top 10. Terry Labonte's last few years at HMS were similar to JJ's, and he decided to come back part time after he retired, and struggled to run in the top 25. Most people don't even remember that. I'm not talking about his last several runs in the 32 car, I'm talking about his part-time schedule in the Hendrick #44.

The big question comes down to how we think JJ would fare in the nextgen car. That's a huge unknown.
 

jaqua19

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We all know the last few years of Jimmie Johnson's career were pretty brutal. He didn't win in his last 3 seasons, although JJ came close a few times, like the Roval in 2018.

That being said, what many don't mention is that Hendrick as a whole was struggling. At one point, there were talks about downsizing to 3 cars. That's how bad they were performing.

Taking into consideration what I mentioned, do you think Johnson could come back & pull a Mark Martin? Hendrick has improved greatly since he retired. In 2020 they were still awful but found speed towards the end of the season, culminating with a Chase Elliott title.

With the speed that Hendrick & Chevy have now, I think Jimmie could contend for wins. Give him a part time ride @ Kaulig & he'd probably surprise with his performance.

His crash @ Pocono wasn't the real issue as far as I'm concerned. I could be wrong though.
I don't think he was as bad as he was and still is capable of winning races with the right circumstance.

But I don't think he was at the point where he could just will himself to race wins anymore. Some element of his skill was gone, and adapting to a new car just wasn't in the cards.

Plus, people decline at different rates. Do I think Jimmie wins races if he still raced in 2021, 2022? Probably 1-2. But he clearly wasn't the same driver anymore. Every advantage he had was engineered out of the current cup car, and that advantage he did have dwindled regardless.

He's doing his own thing and running top 10/top 5 in Indy on ovals. So he still can drive a racecar.

As far as NASCAR goes, he was out to lunch.

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wi_racefan

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I think with good equipment JJ could definitely come back and be competitive. The new car may actually help him.

Would be cool to see him in the trackhouse 3rd car for a start or 2

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Jorge De Guzman

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If Jimmie comes back to Hendrick, who is he replacing? I don’t see what Harvick winning has to do with JJ but I’ll bite….someone asked if Jimmie could have a late career Mark Martin season if he came back to Cup full time. Hard to say…could he be fast in this new car? What team is he racing for? I will say JJ has the fitness aspect down like Mark did, so the physical grind of it he will be fine at. I’ll admit I miss him in Cup every week, it’s still surreal watching him run an Indy car each week.
 

JJ_14

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If Jimmie comes back to Hendrick, who is he replacing? I don’t see what Harvick winning has to do with JJ but I’ll bite….someone asked if Jimmie could have a late career Mark Martin season if he came back to Cup full time. Hard to say…could he be fast in this new car? What team is he racing for? I will say JJ has the fitness aspect down like Mark did, so the physical grind of it he will be fine at. I’ll admit I miss him in Cup every week, it’s still surreal watching him run an Indy car each week.
There could be plenty of part-time options like Kaulig, Trackhouse & even 23XI. Jimmie coming back would be a huge deal. He'd find a good ride if he wanted to.
 

Jorge De Guzman

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There could be plenty of part-time options like Kaulig, Trackhouse & even 23XI. Jimmie coming back would be a huge deal. He'd find a good ride if he wanted to.
Were we talking part time or full time for a JJ comeback? I must have gotten lost along the way in this thread
 

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That said I wouldn’t mind Jimmie having a Matt Kenseth style sort of return. Come back for a season or a bunch of races part time now that COVID-19/2020 is over and maybe run for Kaulig?

Jimmie didn’t really get to send it off for the fans in NASCAR. I hope he runs a few select races again one day.

Maybe Jimmie could run the Chicago Street race or a future Portland Cup race?
 

LARRY

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He'll need Chad as a crewchief.
 

FLRacingFan

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It sounds like he’s more open to part-time/one-off NASCAR stuff than he was last year. His schedule is about as packed as he’d like it to be so I wouldn’t be surprised if he maybe went ovals-only in Indy.
 

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Flat footed package did not suit him. Jimmie wasn't really slow, but I think that configuration of the car was just not for him.

Now with this car, I think he would actually be more competitive. However, Harvick is really an interesting case. Many are expecting older drivers to fall off of a cliff, but is it really a cliff or was JJ just ready for a new challenge and lost interest? Also, everyone keeps bringing up Knaus, but does every remember how bad they matched their last two seasons together? Cliff Daniels brought out fast pieces for JJ. Some hit, some miss, some driver error.

Depends though, if JJ gets the bug again, someone would be willing to bring him in. Maybe he does ovals only for Indy, maybe some events for Project 91, and maybe IMSA endurance races still? I'm all for seeing this man have the itch to go out and try new things though, watching JJ learn new disciplines has been fun.
 

Charlie Spencer

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Were we talking part time or full time for a JJ comeback? I must have gotten lost along the way in this thread
I'm still trying to figure out how Harvick's single win in two years is a possible indicator of Johnson's future. They're two guys with different driving styles who never ran for the same team or owner. "Oh, but they're close to the same age so, you know, ..."
 

Jorge De Guzman

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I'm still trying to figure out how Harvick's single win in two years is a possible indicator of Johnson's future. They're two guys with different driving styles who never ran for the same team or owner. "Oh, but they're close to the same age so, you know, ..."
I don’t know how we got here as well. What did one have to do with the other?
 

Formerjackman

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That said I wouldn’t mind Jimmie having a Matt Kenseth style sort of return. Come back for a season or a bunch of races part time now that COVID-19/2020 is over and maybe run for Kaulig?

Jimmie didn’t really get to send it off for the fans in NASCAR. I hope he runs a few select races again one day.

Maybe Jimmie could run the Chicago Street race or a future Portland Cup race?
In case nobody remembers, he was never THAT good of a road course driver when he was in his prime driving alongside Jeff Gordon. Does anybody REALLY think Jimmie could jump into a one-off or part time ride and be competitive on a road course? I would say the skill level of the Cup field on road courses as a whole is probably three times better than it was when Jimmie won his lone RC race. I wonder what Jimmie’s future in Indy cars is at all. Carvana is having BIG issues, and now that the novelty is wearing off a little, how much value does he REALLY bring to a sponsor there? I LOVE the guy, but sometimes you just have to know when to pull the plug and just go play golf or something. For me, the only thing worse than having to quit doing what you love is sucking at doing what you love.
 

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I'd like to see jj come back for the bristol dirt race, he grew up racing bikes and trucks in the dirt.
 

sdj

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I think Jimmy is having fun and has had the opportunity to spread out and try different racing venues he has always wanted to do. Plus a young family, lack of competitiveness and the grind of the Nascar schedule, finally took away the enjoyment of racing Nascar. JMHO

Will he come back and race a few Nascar races, my bet, is no.
 

Charlie Spencer

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Does anybody REALLY think Jimmie could jump into a one-off or part time ride and be competitive on a road course?
He wasn't competitive on most layouts for the last couple of years in a full-time ride from one of the top teams.

JJ isn't interested and wouldn't be effective if he was. Y'all have fun; I'm out of here.
 

Old 97

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I bet JJ at least does a one-off in the next couple of years.
 

DIDIT

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UMP modifieds for 25 laps against Joe and Bob is way different than cup cars against world class talent for 3 hours.
Actually it was 20 laps, not 25, and he did not beat Joe or Bob. He did beat, Dillion, Hunter, Joshua, Eric, Dalton, Patrick, Paul, Josh, Makalya, Kyle, Rob, Jim (2), Jason, Zane and Jared.
Just so much wrong with this post, I couldn't ignore it. :)
 

jaqua19

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He wasn't competitive on most layouts for the last couple of years in a full-time ride from one of the top teams.

JJ isn't interested and wouldn't be effective if he was. Y'all have fun; I'm out of here.
This is JJ discussion seems to have struck a nerve with you.

This isn't something we often see from Charlie Spencer!

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