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H2H: Debating Johnson's place in NASCAR history
RELATED: Champion's Week preview " Streaming schedule When Jimmie Johnson made history at Homestead-Miami Speedway with his record-tying seventh championship, it gave the sport of stock-car racing a moment to reflect on the accomplishment and to debate Johnson's place in its history . With just more than a week's worth of a cool-down lap of their own to let the moment sink in, our Holly Cain and Kenny Bruce offer their perspectives on the newly crowned "Seven-Time" in this week's head-to-head: 1. With a seventh championship tying Jimmie Johnson with Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt, how do you rank the three considering the eras in which they competed? Cain: Accessing seven-time champions is ironically a no-win situation. Each driver earned the big trophy in markedly different eras under far different circumstances. Petty's team had to be as tough as it was good. Earnhardt's team was tested against future Hall of Famers under a new and increasingly bright spotlight. And Johnson had to earn his titles under multiple championship scenarios against a field of competition representing the deepest talent level in the sport's history . Bruce: I agree with Holly to a point. You can't fairly compare the three drivers because their success came in such different times. The sport was so different when Petty won his seven titles, with teams racing as many as 62 times a season. It was a test of endurance as much as anything. Earnhardt won his titles when attrition was still a concern, but the cars were better and depth of talent within the teams greater. Johnson's success has come under various points formats, various rules packages and against some of the best talent the sport has ever seen. But … if you're ranking the three purely on a "most talented" level, then it's a no-brainer. The answer is … 2. Would an eighth championship in Johnson’s column change your view? Cain: Should Johnson win an eighth -- and I believe he will -- there should be no lingering doubts about his toughness, tenacity and talent -- the latter something this seven-time champ is never given enough credit for. Bruce: It depends on the circumstances. I already believe he's one of the best to ever compete in the sport, so one more title won't really change how I view him there. But if he continues to compete at such a high level and can still be successful, I'll be even more impressed with any future accomplishments. 3. How do you assess the chances of Johnson and the No. 48 team achieving title No. 8? Cain: For Johnson to have earned seven trophies under a revolving door of championship competition and format changes is a triumph in and of itself. At only 41 years old -- two years younger than Earnhardt when he won his seventh and the same age as Petty when he hoisted his seventh -- there is reason to believe Johnson has an incredibly favorable shot to make more NASCAR history . The pressure is off. Petty ranked in the championship top five only three more times after winning his seventh title. Earnhardt was runner-up two more times (in 1995 and 2000). Johnson and his Hendrick Motorsports crew chief Chad Knaus really only have more history to aspire to, and lots of time to attain it. It's "all good" was never more apropos. Bruce: The current championship-determining format doesn't lend itself to repeat champions -- witness three different winners in the three years of the elimination format. No driver has made the final four all three times either. And there's a very good chance that once you make it to the final, you have to win the race to win the title. It took the No. 48 team three years to make it to the final round and I don't think it’s a given that they'll be back next year. Under other formats, I'd rate their chances as great. Now, though, I’m less willing to be so positive. They've got time, but that's what we said about Jeff Gordon , too, when he began pursuing title No. 5 -- in 2002.
Nod to history as The Clash comes back to Daytona
RELATED: Official news release NASCAR and Daytona International Speedway jointly announced Wednesday that the annual exhibition race to kick off 2017 Speedweeks will have a familiar format, a smaller field and a nostalgic name -- The Clash. The season-opening non-points event -- scheduled Saturday, Feb. 18 (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) -- will take a page from its earliest roots, when it began as the Busch Clash in 1979. The race, which has frequently served as an invitational for the previous season's pole winners, has also been known as the Bud Shootout and Sprint Unlimited in its history at the 2.5-mile track. "We're bringing back The Clash at Daytona," Daytona International Speedway president Chip Wile said in the news release. "The Clash was a race name that has always been popular among both the competitors and race fans. We're looking forward to bringing it back and building on the rich history of this thrilling and always unpredictable event that kicks off the NASCAR season." NASCAR and the speedway indicated that the race format would remain unchanged from last year -- 75 laps with a competition caution period scheduled for Lap 25. The method for assembling eligible drivers, however, carries some slight tweaks from 2016's edition. Drivers invited include last year's Coors Light Pole Award winners in NASCAR Sprint Cup competition (14 total), former Clash winners (2), former Daytona 500 pole winners who raced full-time last year (1) and drivers not otherwise eligible who qualified for the Chase postseason (3). Last season, the field reached its 25-car limit by inviting the remaining highest-finishing drivers in the previous year's standings to fill the starting grid. That criteria has been dropped for 2017, leaving 20 drivers eligible to compete. One of those positions is held by three-time champion Tony Stewart , who announced that he would end his full-time driving career last season. Stewart indicated in an appearance Tuesday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that he is far from retired, planning to compete in sprint cars and even entertaining an offer to drive sports cars at Le Mans. Another starting berth is also held by Greg Biffle , who parted ways with his longtime team at Roush Fenway Racing last week and has no announced plans in place for 2017. Biffle won the Coors Light Pole at Daytona in July to secure a starting spot. The list of eligible drivers: 2016 Coors Light Pole Awards winners: Greg Biffle , Alex Bowman , Kurt Busch , Kyle Busch , Austin Dillon , Carl Edwards , Chase Elliott , Denny Hamlin , Kevin Harvick , Jimmie Johnson , Matt Kenseth , Brad Keselowski , Joey Logano , Martin Truex Jr . Former Clash Race Winners: Dale Earnhardt Jr ., Tony Stewart Former Daytona 500 Coors Light Pole Award winners: Danica Patrick Remaining 2016 Chase drivers: Chris Buescher , Kyle Larson , Jamie McMurray The race's length and field size have grown steadily from its first running in 1979, which was exclusively reserved for the previous year's pole winners. In an era with far less parity, it meant a nine-car field vying for a $50,000 payday in a 20-lap (50-mile) shootout. Buddy Baker was the inaugural winner, leading 18 of the 20 laps in Harry Ranier's "Gray Ghost" No. 28 Oldsmobile. Dale Earnhardt Jr ., who helped bring the "Gray Ghost" scheme back to life, threw his support behind The Clash. This is a great move to restore the identity of a historic event. Pole award winners and @NASCAR fans can rejoice! #TheClashIsBack https://t.co/hb5mYiU8Gj — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) November 30, 2016
Nationwide Series History 300 starting lineup
Kyle Busch will lead off the History 300 at Charlotte
Final Laps: Busch dominates the History 300
Kyle Busch dominates the day and takes the win in the History 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway
Best Of GarageCam: History 300
Host Matt Dillner walks you through the NNS garage as drivers gear up for History 300 .
Post-Race Reactions: History 300
Kevin Harvick talks about his fifth place finish in the History 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway
Olympic legend Michael Phelps recognizes 7-time
The most decorated athletic in Olympic history Michael Phelps introduces and recognizes seven-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Awards Banquet.
Can Jimmie make history at Homestead?
Marty Snider and Chris Rice give their fantasy advice in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, including whether Jimmie Johnson can make history at Homestead-Miami Speedway by grabbing his seventh title in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Tweets to the Winner: Jimmie Johnson makes history at Homestead
RELATED: Complete results " Chase Grid " Standings SHOP: Champion gear He finally did it. It took until the end of his 15th season at stock car racing’s highest level, but he achieved the unthinkable. Jimmie Johnson etched his name in the history books among NASCAR’s greats, doing what was once thought impossible. When car No. 48 crossed the finish line ahead of the field Sunday, he silenced the critics and stunned the sports world. Jimmie Johnson finally won a race at Homestead-Miami Speedway . On Twitter, Johnson’s fans were thrilled to share in celebration of the historic milestone (his first Homestead win, obviously). Congrats @JimmieJohnson for finally winning at Homestead — landon cassill (@landoncassill) November 21, 2016 @landoncassill @JimmieJohnson - They are making a huge deal of this. — ohitsmark.com (@markvidreiro) November 21, 2016 It's about time @JimmieJohnson won at Homestead. #nascar . #se7en — Rich Phillips (@rphillipsTMS) November 21, 2016 Jimmie Johnson won the champion and the homestead trophy,but more importantly he just won a boat for winning the race. #JimmieJohnson #se7en — Mateusz K. (@PolishDrunk) November 21, 2016 @JimmieJohnson - Congrats on your win at Homestead!! — Bobbi Fein (@FeinBobbi) November 21, 2016 There's only 3 tracks left (Kentucky, Watkins Glen, Chicago) that @JimmieJohnson hasn't won at. Tonight was his 1st at Homestead. #NASCAR — Christian Espinoza (@Christian_Racin) November 21, 2016 Congratulations @JimmieJohnson on finally winning at Homestead. Oh yeah that championship is pretty cool too. — T.J. Allen (@cartersdad15) November 21, 2016 JIMMIE LOSES HIS HOMESTEAD WIN VIRGINITY FINALLY!!! — Santa Daddy Moose (@DaddyMooose) November 21, 2016 @JimmieJohnson Way to go Jimmie! Thriller in Homestead! Really cool how you acknowledged everybody that helped you along the way. Class act! — David C. Black (@DavidCBlack_dcb) November 21, 2016 WTG JIMMIE JOHNSON!! Serious WIN at Homestead!! — watching NASCAR on NBC — tnred37845 (@tnred37845) November 21, 2016 Sure, it should probably be noted that in addition to his milestone victory at Homestead, Jimmie Johnson also won a seventh championship and placed himself among the likes of legends Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt, but this is NASCAR -- a sport where firsts are celebrated, not sevenths (unless your only goal is a good points day).
History 300 entry list
The Nationwide Series will run its 11th race of the season at Charlotte