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October 22, 2014

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Jimmie Johnson is NASCAR’s version of a rerun

I like reruns. I can watch one of my favorite movies, episodes of “Seinfeld” or old NASCAR races on ESPN Classic a million times. So why don’t I like watching Jimmie Johnson reruns?

When I watch a movie I’ve seen before, I already know the ending. And that’s sort of what it’s like watching Jimmie Johnson compete for the championship. But I’m tired of watching the Jimmie Johnson movie.

Maybe it’s because Johnson and Company are making it look too easy. Granted, winning a Sprint Cup Championship is far from easy, and the No. 48 team has worked tremendously hard to accomplish their championships. But it doesn’t look hard for them. They’re cool, calm, collected and confident, which makes them look like they’re always right where they should be.

Or maybe it’s because Johnson never seems to be the underdog. He has phenomenal talent, he’s with the best racing organization in the sport and he has one of the best crew chiefs in the history of NASCAR. As a result, a lot is expected of his team. Even when he’s not winning, people know that given all of these factors, he’ll quickly return to victory lane. There are only 14 points separating Johnson from Denny Hamlin, but I’d still put my money on Johnson because he’s such a known quantity.

Finally, maybe the reason I don’t get too worked up about Johnson is because, like a lot of other fans, I’m not very emotionally invested in him. If Dale Jr. were 14 points ahead of Hamlin, the whole NASCAR world would be going crazy in anticipation of the season’s final outcome. Johnson doesn’t elicit those same emotions.

Nevertheless, I’m glad there’s a tight points battle this season. It is adding an extra element of excitement that we haven’t seen in the last four seasons. And, who knows, maybe it’s having an effect on NASCAR’s popularity. USA Today reported today that ticket sales for Sunday’s AAA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway are 20 percent higher than last year.

Here’s to hoping the points battle stays tight all the way to Homestead.

Mustang drifting

Check out this video of a drifting event put on by the people at Ford during the SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) convention in Las Vegas.

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