THE EDITOR BEING A CHAMPION
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t’s one thing to talk of behavior that’s
becoming of a champion, but what does
that actually mean? If recent events are
anything to go by, the answer depends on
the champion in question.
If a champion is supposed to act with
dignity and class, then it’s hard to look
past Nico Rosberg. The German had
been the new Formula 1 World
Champion for less than a week when he
decided he couldn’t muster the intensity
and commitment required to defend his
title next year, and that someone else
could make better use of what will
probably once again be the best car on
the grid. No doubt Mercedes would have
liked a little more notice of his
intentions, but they can’t fault his
honesty. Edd Straw explores Rosberg’s
motivation for winning, then walking.
Retiring at the top of the mountain
takes a real courage, yet a different kind
of courage is required to stick around and
defend a championship. Doing that seven
times? The only current driver in a
position to speak about that with any
authority is Jimmie Johnson. If 2016 has
broadly been the year of rattling the
establishment, then it’s entirely
appropriate that a Californian carrying
none of the traditional Stock Car genes
should have chosen this season to join
Petty and Earnhardt as NASCAR’s
greatest. Tom Jensen looks at how
Johnson has become such a force.
Organizations can exhibit a champion’s
mentality as well, but in the case of Team
Penske, that mentality has become the
blueprint for its day-to-day operations. It
paid off again this year in the Verizon
IndyCar Series for Simon Pagenaud, so we
wanted to find out more on what makes
Penske a machine that can’t stop winning.
“Champion” isn’t a one-size-fits-all
honor, and while it’s still a little soon for
definitive hindsight on the 2016 season,
it’s already taught us that there’s more
than one way to wear a crown.
“If a champion is
supposed to act with
dignity and class, it’s hard
to look past Nico Rosberg”
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