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Racing into the record book

If you want to know how hard it is to string together championship seasons, just ask West Rowan High football coach Scott Young or Salisbury High girls basketball coach Andrew Mitchell. Both took their teams to state titles last year and are hoping to do it again this year.
Four consecutive championships? That’s a pretty tall order, no matter the sport. But Jimmie Johnson accomplished it last Sunday, making NASCAR history along the way. Although other drivers have won more total titles (Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt are tied at seven), he’s the first to win four consecutive cup championships.
To put that in perspective, consider this:
As great as Michael Jordan and his Chicago Bulls were, they never won four consecutive titles. Three at a stretch (1991-1993 and 1996-1998) were the most they could muster.
The New York Yankees are probably the most iconic dynasty in sports. Yet, in the past half century, their longest consecutive championship string is three World Series trophies (1998,1999, 2000). You have to go back to the early 1950s to find a run of five Yankee championships, their longest World Series streak.
When it comes to the Super Bowl, no team has ever won three in a row, much less four.
Whether you’re talking about laps at Talladega or getting to the end zone on Super Sunday, championships are hard to come by, and only the most elite franchises return to the winners circle with frequency. That Johnson and his No. 48 Chevrolet did it again this year is a tribute to his talent behind the wheel and to his team at Hendrick Motorsports, which notched its 12th overall championship for owner Rick Hendrick.
Johnson’s accomplishment assures him a place alongside Petty, Earnhardt, Pearson and other legendary names in racing’s pantheon of greats. And at age 34, he still has a lot of racing miles left in the tank. After all, championship runner-up Mark Martin had one of his best seasons ever ó at age 50.

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