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Johnson, No. 48 team building a dynasty

CONCORD, N.C. (Dec. 1, 2008)—Jimmie Johnson and his No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet team have built a dynasty —a rare thing in the sports world, let alone NASCAR.

When Johnson captured his third straight NASCAR Sprint Cup title in November, he joined Cale Yarborough as the only other driver to three-peat. Yarborough won in 1976, 1977 and 1978.

But Johnson and his crew, the latest professional team to three-peat, also deserve mention alongside other sports dynasties. The New York Yankees, which own a league-high 26 World Series titles, were the last Major League Baseball team to win three straight from 1998-2000. The Los Angeles Lakers were the latest NBA team to three-peat (2000-02), while the Green Bay Packers went three-for-three from 1965-1967. In the NHL, the New York Islanders claimed three straight titles from 1980-82.

Like other championship-winning greats, Johnson and his team thrived in playoff pressure. During the season’s 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup, they recorded three wins, six top-five finishes and eight top-10s. Johnson averaged a finish of 5.7 and a driver rating of 116.2. While the team focused on consistency, it also benefited from having a stable roster. On a team with minimal turnover, crew chief Chad Knaus directed the team to all three championships, becoming the first crew chief to win three. Five of the eight “over the wall” crew members also were a part of each title run.

During his 2008 championship season, Johnson earned eight wins, 17 top-five finishes, 22 top-10s and averaged a finish of 7.2. He has outperformed the competition and seized practically every one of the sport’s crown jewels. During the last three seasons, Johnson has:

—captured the 2006 Daytona 500.

—gone to Victory Lane twice from the pole position at The Brickyard (2006 and 2008).

—won the 2006 all-star event at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.

—become the first driver since 1998 to win four straight races, a feat he accomplished in 2007.

—earned 10 straight wins in 2007, the first to do so since 1998.