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Jay Busbee

Johnson's 50th career victory is one unlike any before it

You could hear the moans echoing across NASCAR Nation as soon as Jimmie Johnson put Tony Stewart in his rear-view mirror -- not again! Yes, again:

Here's the thing. Love Johnson or hate him, that was a tremendously ballsy move there to go three-wide to pass Biffle and Stewart. Johnson and Kurt Busch, arguably the two best drivers in NASCAR at this very moment, started from the same row and ended up in very different positions at the end of the race.

Naturally, as soon as Johnson took the lead, the typical "Johnson-is-ruining-NASCAR" whining kicked up. But if nothing else, Horseshoe's win should put a stake in the heart of the whole "conspiracy theory" idea. NASCAR had some significant new eyeballs on it this weekend thanks to the Carl Edwards/Brad Keselowski fight (and subsequent wars-of-words), so why would they kill that momentum with a champion whom everyone's already seen so many times?

No, Johnson's win at a track where he's had absolutely no success is a testament to his skill (and good fortune) as a driver. And those who scream that he's destroying NASCAR need to step back a second. What's Johnson supposed to do, lose on purpose? Slow down and let the slower crowd catch up? Ridiculous.

If Johnson's wins make you turn your back on NASCAR, fine. But don't blame him. Blame your driver for not stepping up to the challenge.

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