Make no mistake, what Jimmie Johnson did this weekend is incredibly impressive. Four wins at the iconic track of the racing world is nothing to sneeze at. But can we please stop comparing Johnson's win to what Al Unser, Rick Mears and AJ Foyt did?
I mean, is winning the Coke Zero 400 the same as winning the Daytona 500? I don't think you would find anyone that would say that. So stop comparing Johnson and Jeff Gordon's wins at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, to that of the trio of four time winner in the Indy 500.
Winning the Indy 500 is special. It is motorsports royalty. And no mater what you do in a stockcar at the Brickyard, it's no the same. Stock car racing has that race. It's Daytona. You wouldn't put Scott Dixon's multiple wins at the Rolex 24 in the same category as multiple Daytona 500 winners, would you?
It doesn't take anything away from what Johnson has done. And there is no question that he is one of the top racecar drivers who ever lived. Just when you think he has done it all, that he has reached the end of what he can accomplish, he does something else. To me it seemed unlikely that anyone would ever match the seven titles of Earnhardt and Petty. But now, I have little doubt that Johnson has a chance.
It's okay to compare him across racing platforms, but to me it's the same as comparing him to Tiger Woods or Michael Jordan. It's apples to oranges. Really nice apples to oranges, and a good looking fruit basket for sure.
"This fourth, I'm able to join racing legends, my heroes, people I've looked up to my entire life, so to join them is a huge, huge honor," said Johnson.
Johnson's team owner Rick Hendrick echoed that sentiment after the race," Every time you come here you know how important this place is, and everybody wants to win here because just the unique history of this place and how many legends in racing have raced here. So everybody puts a lot of effort into it."
And it is clear how important winning at Indianapolis is to all the teams. But this is NASCAR and most of the time they rule the roost in the racing world. But Indy is Indy. It belongs to small fast opened wheel machines. It's lore was build brick on the success of those drivers. So, to me it's just not the same.