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Kyle Petty: Jimmie Johnson is 'arguably the greatest driver ever'

- jutter@charlotteobserver.com
Thursday, Jun. 27, 2013

NASCAR Race Hub's Matt Clark sat down with fellow NASCAR on Fox/Speed analyst Kyle Petty to talk about the many topics currently shaping the sport's landscape.

Among the topics, five-time champion Jimmie Johnson. Considering his father, 'The King' Richard Petty, and what he accomplished, Kyle might be one of the more unique voices to talk about Johnson's eventual place in history.

Clark: Why do people consider him, or don't consider him, a powerhouse?

Petty: He may be the most underrated driver, ever. Now, on the other side of that coin when you flip it over, he's arguably the greatest driver ever, when you look at it. I don't know why, I think when you go back in the history of the sport, and when you look at those early years, it was all about the driver. When you talk Richard Petty, you just talk Richard Petty. When you talk Dale Earnhardt, Sr., you just talk Dale Earnhardt, Sr. Nobody mentions Jimmie, without mentioning (crew chief) Chad (Knaus) or (car owner) (Rick) Hendrick.

Clark: I think thats', I don't want to say Jimmie's fault, but it's a good characteristic. He's a blue-collar guy that bought into the team concept and said, 'Hey, my team, my crew chief, the owner, it's all of us.'

Petty: He's preached the team concept so much, and people bought it from him so much, that now he can't escape that. We'll always think about Jimmie as, 'Jimmie and Chad and oh yeah, Hendrick, was a powerhouse during that time.' That's why he's won so many races. No. He drives the wheels off that thing. That's why he wins the races.

Clark: It will be 20 or 30 years before people sit back and see what he did was amazing.

Petty: Yeah. I can't believe that Jimmie Johnson's five championships in a row was not a bigger deal in the sports world than what it was



Utter: 704-358-5113; Twitter: @jim_utter
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