Johnson just latest object of fan ire

"I don't think it's bad at all," Waltrip said. "In any sport, you have to have somebody or something to shoot for. Mediocrity kills every sport. Officials and sanctioning bodies want everybody to have a chance to win. That's not competition -- that's controlling competition. His dominance makes everybody realize, 'Why can't I do it?'

"It's got to have a huge effect on his teammates, when they know every single thing he has, and he still succeeds in spite of them knowing all that. Every sport needs a dominant team. Without that, you end up with a bunch of also-rans."

Knaus said he doesn't consider the long-term impact of the Jimmie Johnson era. He said someday he and Johnson will hash all of that out on the back porch with a cold beer. For now, it's about adding to the accolades.

"I don't know what the impact is; I don't know if it is good or bad," Knaus said. "I have seen with the 24 car and Jeff Gordon, and what he did, he was really, really good. And then as he got further along in his career, those people that didn't like him, all of a sudden started to like him -- a lot.

"I saw that happen with Dale Earnhardt. I saw that happen with Rusty Wallace. I saw that happen with Darrell Waltrip. I assume that is going to happen for Jimmie. But I think there's a lot more people that like Jimmie now than when they didn't like Jeff. It's just the ebb and flow of it. It's just how it works."

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