What makes this feat remarkable is that Johnson, 34, has never won a race this early in the ten-race Chase format during his three previous championship years. In winning the second of the ten-race Chase, Johnson seems to have set a tone and set a message to the other drivers in the 12-team championship contest.
"I'm pretty sure that dude is Superman," Martin said. "I've seen that dude up close and I see why he's so successful. He works harder at it than anybody else, I think, on the circuit." Martin, who won last week's race at Louden, NH is considered by many to be the most physically dedicated driver in the business. Martin is well known for his physical fitness and workout regimen.
This is not the first time a fellow driver has called Johnson Superman. During the 2007 Chase, after the race in Texas which was won by Johnson, four time champion Jeff Gordon said of Johnson "He's Superman. Nobody is going to stop him this year. He's unbelievable." Johnson went on that year to win the his second consecutive title.
Asked about his win today, Johnson said "As far as sending a message, I hope it does. I hope people talk about it. I hope people are worried. And we'll keep our heads down, we'll keep our blinders on and we'll go to work.
"At the end of the day, all the talk means nothing. We've still got to show up at Kansas and run that race. That's what we do a really good job at, staying focused."
In addition to the greatness shown by Johnson in his win, NASCAR proved what great technological advances they have made in the area of safety. Rookie driver Joey Logano was involved in an amazing crash, during which his car rolled seven times before standing on the driver's window side, then falling back to its wheels. Remarkably, Logan walked away, even commenting on the fact that he didn't feel sore after the crash.
Next Sunday's race is at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas. Last year Johnson won the race in Kansas on his way to winning his third consecutive championship.