This is the Statt Mann Baby!!  Time to Scatt a little bit.

You gotta love three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson and his Crew Chief Chad Knaus.  Before it’s over, they’ll go down with the great sideline/star duos in sports history.

I’m talking Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson. Kobe and Phil.  Joe Montana and Bill Walsh.  Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.  Bill Russell and Red Auerbach.  One doesn’t win without the other.  They’ll go into history or the Hall of Fame together, elbow to elbow.

It happens so rarely in sports – in life for that matter – it must be special.  There’s brilliance at both ends of the headset and both realize it.  They do what the other tells them, probably with little question.  There’s mutual respect because there’s mutual success.  Both stretch the envelope and stress the templates but both know winnin’ time just like Magic and Riley a generation ago.

I was laughed at last fall when I predicted Johnson and Knaus would win an unprecedented fourth straight NASCAR Sprint Cup title.  Only one had ever won three in a row.  No one has ever won four straight in NASCAR.  Michael and Phil couldn't even do it in the NBA.

But pay attention to this year.  There’s a lot of racing left but anyone who wins will have to go through the Johnson/Knaus garage and take the title from them.  They’ll have to EARN it, like the old commercial used to say.

And that’s not a bad thing.  You should have to beat the champion to win his title.  There’s no room for a split decision in racing.