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Time to give Jimmie Johnson his due
Individually, Johnson's reign puts him among some of the greatest athletes of this generation in a category with such legendary names as Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and Roger Federer, players who dominated their sports. In NASCAR, Johnson's four straight championships are even more impressive than the seven Cup titles won by Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt a record that he also may tie and, possibly, surpass in the next four or five years. What Johnson has done is simply dominate the most competitive era in NASCAR history, making him not only the greatest driver of the past decade, but also one of the greatest of all time. His 47 wins and four titles in just eight years put him in the same company as Petty, David Pearson, Cale Yarborough, Bobby Allison, Darrell Waltrip, Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon. And though he hasn't won as many races as any of them yet he has accumulated those stats in fewer years and in a tougher era. For the past four decades, the seven titles won by Petty and Earnhardt have stood as the most impressive feats in the sport. But neither faced the competition and the obstacles that Johnson has faced.
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Jeff Owens is a writer for NASCAR Scene, which is published weekly, 46 weeks per year. Visit www.scenedaily.com for more information.