I've been thinking about the real possibility of Jimmie Johnson winning a fifth consecutive NASCAR championship.

That started me thinking about this: Would Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt each have seven championships if we hann't lost some up-and-coming drivers so early in their careers?

Thankfully, we haven't lost anyone in some time.

Tim Richmond died from AIDS in 1989, and he definitely had the potential to keep Earnhardt from winning his seven championships. What a great rivalry those two had going on.

And speaking of Earnhardt, I can't help but believe if we didn't lose him in a crash in Daytona in February 2001, that he would have made it very difficult for Johnson to win four championships.

Connecticut native Rob Moroso won the NASCAR Busch series (now Nationwide) championship in 1989, and was well on his way to winning Rookie of the Year honors in 1990 when he was killed in traffic accident in his home town of Terrell, N.C.

Davey Allison died from injuries he suffered July 13, 1993 when he crashed his helicopter at Talladega Super Speedway.

He had won Rookie of the Year in 1987, the 1992 Daytona 500 and was the 1993 Iroc Series champion.

Davey was also known for his warm smile and practical jokes.

Another driver we lost too early is Adam Petty. He was the grandson of the "King," Richard Petty.

Other drivers who died young were Kenny Irwin Jr., Clifford Allison, John Nemechek and 1992 Sprint Cup champion, Alan Kulwicki.

Those men could have changed the history books.

Unfortunately, we will never know the full potential these men may have realized, and that makes me sad.

The Sprint Cup guys are in Indianapolis on Sunday.

Whip City Speedway: Peter Dance (6th).

Stafford Motor Speedway: SK modifieds -- Chris Jones (18th). SK lights -- David Webb (16th).

Lebanon Valley Speedway: Sportsman -- Kyle Armstrong (6th).