Jimmie Johnson Conspiracy #898: Convenient water bottles

We already know that Kyle Busch rolled to a convincing victory Saturday night in Richmond. But he was infringing on the Convincing Win copyright of Jimmie Johnson, and apparently Johnson and NASCAR don't take kindly to that. Which is why Johnson, crew chief Chad Knaus and NASCAR conspired to throw several cautions at key moments, most notably a debris one right when Johnson was getting lapped by Kyle. It's true.

No, it's not. But the "sudden" appearance of a water bottle meant a yellow, and the Johnson Phantom Caution sent the stands into a torrent of boos. It's the latest chapter in an inexplicable yet long-running conspiracy theory -- the idea that NASCAR is rigging races so that Jimmie Johnson can win.

It makes absolutely no sense on its face -- if anybody new was going to become a Jimmie Johnson fan, they would have already by now -- and yet it persists, mostly among the "I'm through with NASCAR" crowd. (You know, the ones that have threatened to leave the sport for 20 years now.)

Seriously, though, the "prop up Jimmie" conspiracy has no legs. Why not prop up Dale Earnhardt Jr.? (Yes, yes, I know, in order to do that Saturday night, NASCAR would've had to drop an entire truckload of water bottles on the track.)

The frustration with Johnson is evident and understandable, but enough with the conspiracy theories. What people need to be worried about isn't some phantom secret-plot nonsense; it's the fact that Johnson continues to lurk in the top 10 race after race after race. Clearly, the guy hasn't lost a step. And he doesn't need NASCAR's help to wallop the field.

Be worried, 48 haters. Be very worried.

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