It's interesting how times and attitudes change.

I remember when Jeff Gordon tied Dale Earnhardt on the all-time wins list with 76; there was a huge outcry from the Earnhardt supporters; telling us how many ways Gordon didn't deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as their guy.

When Jimmie Johnson matched Earnhardt with that Atlanta win, virtually nothing was heard from the Earnhardt faithful.

I think there are a number of reasons for the relative silence:

Their "new" guy is a friend and teammate of Johnson, and has been more than forthcoming in his support.

Time.  It's been 15 years since we lost Earnhardt and the number of folks who were Earnhardt fans when he raced is dwindling.

Inevitability.  As Johnson has run up huge win totals and six championships, even the staunchest Earnhardt fan couldn't deny that this day was coming.

Now the question becomes, just how high will Johnson climb on the wins list?  Can get to David Pearson?  Will he catch Gordon? 

Only time will tell.  But, I will tell you that the guys immediately in front of him are all looking at the possibility of Johnson passing them…as inevitable.