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NASCAR America: How concerned should Jimmie Johnson’s team be ahead of playoffs?

Jimmie Johnson's best finish in the last 10 races has been 10th place, but the NASCAR America analysts warn against doubting the seven-time champion.

What happened to that Jimmie Johnson guy?

The seven-time Cup champion is fourth on the playoff grid but his performance this summer has been anything but stellar since he last won at Dover in June.

In the 11 races since, the No. 48 Chevrolet has only two top 10s (Michigan I, New Hampshire I) and they were both 10th-place finishes. Johnson also had four DNFs in that stretch, including three in four races at one point.

He hasn’t led a lap since the July race at Daytona.

But with two races until the playoffs start, the NASCAR America crew discusses whether the No. 48 team should be doubted, especially given its history of underperforming in the summer before going on championship runs.

“During his run of five straight championships, what we always said about Jimmie Johnson then was don’t doubt them until they prove they can’t just flip a switch,” Nate Ryan said. “They did every year from 2006 until 2010 and I think that conversation is back in play after last year. ... I think they’re going to be able to find the switch come Chicagoland just like last year.”

Said Steve Letarte: “I won’t doubt them a second time. What we saw last year was Jimmie Johnson, a veteran racer, understanding how long 36 races are and I think that’s what you see. They went out and they won, they won early. They guaranteed themselves a spot in the playoffs. I think they would love to have more playoff points, but it’s not worth the 100 percent commitment it takes to run with Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch.”

Watch the video for the full discussion.