The debate has been raging all year. Is Jimmie Johnson the greatest NASCAR Cup driver of all time? I guess it might depend on where he ends up. Johnson is tied with Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt with 7 Cup titles. Some fans are not happy to mention Johnson's name in the same company, but if he wins an 8th title, there's no denying his place in NASCAR lore. Which begs the question, will he win an 8th?
That question was posed by espn.com to a panel of NASCAR experts. The panel: Ricky Craven, Bob Pockrass, Ryan McGee, and Matt Willis. And it may not surprise you that all agree that Johnson will most likely win an 8th.
"I believe Johnson has at least one more title run in him," said McGee. "Even as off as the team was this season he still won three races and nearly made the final round of the postseason. However, when he does win that title I wouldn't be surprised if he hung up his helmet almost immediately."
Craven feels that the longer it takes Johnson to win an 8th, the harder it will be because of the crop of young drivers in Cup racing that will challenge Johnson and, as he says, "create obstructions between him and an eighth"
"I say Jimmie has a 25 percent chance of winning an eighth title. Denny should win a title before his career is over," said Craven.
Willis likes Johnson's chances of winning another title for two main reasons. First, he's got a great team in Hendrick Motorsports that will be a powerful base. Second...
"He's 42-years old, the same age that Richard Petty was when he won his seventh and a year younger than when Dale Earnhardt won his seventh and final title. But I think Johnson will win an eighth because of the physical condition he's in," said Willis.
Bob Pockrass has a qualified yes, with an eye on certain conditions being met.
"Johnson made a living driving a loose race car and it doesn't appear he can get the feel he wants anymore," said Pockrass. "Maybe the new Camaro helps, and in this format, he probably has a better chance to win an eighth than in the pre-elimination days."