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Jay Busbee

The circle is now complete: Johnson masters Gordon

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There's this little-known flick from the '70s called "Star Wars." I'm assuming you haven't seen it, so here's the deal: the evil Darth Vader fights his former teacher, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and mercilessly slices him, declaring himself the new master. It was uncannily similar to Sunday's Vivisection at Vegas, when Jimmie Johnson mercilessly sliced away at his mentor Jeff Gordon's lead.

With four fresh tires to Gordon's two, Johnson ran down Gordon like, as I pointed out in the chat, one of those nature videos where the predator toys with the hobbled zebra before running it to the ground.

The supreme irony in all this, of course, is that Gordon was the guy who brought Johnson into Hendrick Motorsports. Back in 2000, Johnson, then running in the Busch (now Nationwide) Series, asked Gordon for some advice, and Gordon, impressed with the kid, encouraged Rick Hendrick to sign him to a developmental deal. Two years later, when Johnson began running Sprint Cup, Gordon was a part-owner of his car.

When asked Sunday if he regretted bringing Johnson into the Hendrick stable, Gordon replied honestly: "Today I do." Regardless of their friendship, Gordon said, "We're just like every other competitor out there: we are pissed off about [Johnson's win]."

Still, the financial interest does take out a bit of the sting. "Somebody once told me that, you know, if you're gonna get beat, make sure you're getting a piece of it," he said. "That's one positive to take out of it."

True enough, Jeff, true enough. See, that's where Obi-Wan went wrong. If he'd had a piece of the Death Star action, he'd never have blown it up. Everyone could have gone on their merry. Well, except for the people who called the Empire "boring." Then again, Darth Vader took care of them ... decisively.

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