From the Marbles

Jimmie Johnson hammers down a defining Dover victory

Jay Busbee
From The Marbles

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Nice hair, Jimmie. (Getty Images)

All right, conspiracy theorists, let's get this out of the way:

Jimmie Johnson cheats.

• Crew chief Chad Knaus cheats.

• Team owner Rick Hendrick cheats.

• NASCAR allows any or all of the above to cheat.

• NASCAR was better back when and Jimmie is boring and now it's NAPCAR/CRAPCAR/NA$CAR and I promise I really am done this time and I'm never coming back...

That about cover it? Happy now? Good. Now scoot on off and let the rest of us appreciate the continuation of one of the most dominating careers not just in NASCAR, but in sports as a whole.

On a day where the much-beleaguered Tiger Woods won once again, Jimmie Johnson, the man whose athletic feats are the closest analogue to Tiger's, returned to victory lane in Dover at the FedEx 400 Benefitting Autism Speaks. It wasn't even close.

Johnson had a perfectly tuned car, a flawless pit strategy, and only one rival: teammate Jeff Gordon. Once Gordon had problems and dropped back, it was all Jimmie, all the time. With his seventh victory at Dover, Johnson now matches Richard Petty and Bobby Allison for the most all-time at the track.

After waiting for so long to get his 200th win, Hendrick has now seen his cars win three straight races (five if you consider the All-Star race). And while Tony Stewart did break Johnson's five-Cup streak last fall, it's clear that Johnson has several more in his sights ... even if he's not willing to admit it.

[Related: NASCAR's wreckless drought ends with 13-car pileup at Dover]

"It's just way too early to talk championship," Johnson said. "I mean, we are doing the things right now that will win one, but we need to do this in September. ... When you look at what Tony and Carl went through last year, that's a perfect example.  You just don't show up and think everything is going to turn out as you hoped.  You have to get in there and race hard for all ten races."

The angriest guy at the track had to be Jeff Gordon, who saw his chances for a win vanish with the wave of a controversial debris-caution flag. "I can't wait to see that debris on TV," he said. "I'd like to see it because I certainly never saw it [out on the track]. I'm not going to make any comments until I see what they're reasoning for it was. I don't know who you blame if there really wasn't much out there because all the media has been talking about all week long is oh, there's no cautions, there's no cautions. It used to be debris cautions. So, who do you blame that on?" He's got a point, although it's not just the media pointing out the lack of caution flags. Still, had he been able to stay at the front, he would have been able to challenge Johnson.

Or perhaps not; he was missing a key element. After the race, Johnson gave credit where credit was due: the rainbow wig he was wearing to promote Madagascar 3.

"I'm just proud of this hair," Johnson said. "The hair really brought some speed to the team."

Hey, it's at least as believable as any conspiracy.

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