Sometime this afternoon, a television announcer will report breathlessly that Jimmie Johnson has clinched stock-car racing's year-long championship for a record-breaking fourth consecutive season.
Later, after the race, champagne will flow and the world of speed will pay homage to the driver whose success snapped a tie and knocked Cale Yarborough down a notch on the consecutive championships list. Racing officials will fall all over themselves in heaping tribute on their sport's latest hero.
All hail JJ!
After the supplicants rise, they will ponder what challenges remain for the chauffeur of the No. 48 Chevrolet to conquer.
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Johnson's accomplishments and the resulting hosannas require no embellishment, and yet ...
"Not so fast," counter supports of Yarborough, son of the South Carolina Pee Dee. "Let's put this thing into context."
Comparing Johnson's four consecutive titles with Yarborough's three is like considering the merits of a golden delicious apple with a navel orange. That is, the match is mission impossible.
"All records are made to be broken," Yarborough says. "This is racing's 61st year and for 60 of them, I was the only one to (win three straight championships). I was blessed."
But Cale, you won yours under different rules, didn't you?
"A whole lot of people don't know that," he says. "The conditions are nowhere near the same."
NASCAR's Chase for the Championship - started in 2004 - has turned a marathon into a sprint. The Chase bunches 12 teams to battle for the title over the season's final 10 races. The sins and struggles of the first 26 events are erased.
According to statistics compiled by the Web site jayski.com, Johnson would have won only the 2006 title under the system used during Yarborough's streak (1976-78). Jeff Gordon would have two more (2004, '07) and Carl Edwards would have prevailed in 2008. Tony Stewart led both the "Classic" and the "Chase" standings in 2005.
Had the "Chase" formula been in use, Yarborough would have won his three easily and added a fourth in 1980, a season in which he finished second to the late Dale Earnhardt Sr. by 19 points.
Yarborough laughs and says, "There's no telling how many championships Junior (car owner Junior Johnson) and I would have won if I hadn't cut back on my schedule in order to spent more time with my family."
The Junior-Cale combo did make beautiful music on the track. They won championships by 195, 386 and 474 points; they won an astonishing 28 of 90 races in that streak; they posted 70 finishes in the top-5 over those 90 starts. A couple of years later, in 1980, they won 14 of 31 poles.
Yarborough also points to another major difference - teams.
"We operated on our own," he says. "Look at the standings now and there are three Rick Hendrick teams (Johnson, Mark Martin and Gordon) at the top, and they share information. More power to them; that's the way racing is these days. But it's not the same.
"It's like I told Jeff Gordon after he won his fifth Southern 500 (to equal Yarborough's record), he needed to win five more to match me because conditions are so much different."
Yarborough, who won 83 of his 559 starts in a career that stretched from 1957-88, looks back on his years behind the wheel and considers one race - a victory in the 1968 Southern 500 - the pinnacle. The championships are not even close, he says.
"That's because I won on the old Darlington track," he says. "Darlington is still hard to drive today, but back before they changed it (after the 1968 Southern 500), it was almost impossible to race on. The difference between the old track and the new one is like night and day."
The comparison reminds of the difference between Johnson's soon-to-be-four consecutive championships and Yarborough's stretch of three titles. The achievements are significant by any measuring stick, but they are not the same.
Do not diminish Johnson's achievement today; four title in a row, no matter what the rules, shriek of excellence. But don't forget Yarborough; his streak commands the same respect.