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NASCAR Chase has created a big, boring monster

October 19, 2009 | 11:46 am

Johnson-lowes
Jimmie Johnson
is halfway to his unprecedented fourth straight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. But Johnson is not exactly the most exciting or even interesting stock-car driver out there.

His accomplishments should not be understated. No one has ever done what Johnson and his team have done in the last four years.

But what’s good for Johnson and his team is really bad for NASCAR. Johnson said he is trying not to get too excited about his position in the Chase standings and his place in NASCAR history.

"We’re only halfway through this thing,” Johnson said after winning Saturday night’s race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in North Carolina and extending his lead in the Chase standings. “So much can happen. Somebody at Martinsville can lose their brakes and clean you out. With the double file restart there’s going to be a lot of bumping and banging. Someone can get into you and knock a valve stem out or cut a tire.”

The next race in the Chase is at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia. Johnson has won two straight Chase races, at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana and Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Johnson has won the last two and five of the last six Cup races at Martinsville.

“I mean, it’s a nice points lead, but there’s no need for anybody to get too excited yet," Johnson said. "We’ve got good tracks ahead for us. So from a team standpoint, we’re excited and optimistic. But at the same time, there’s a lot of danger out there, and we’ve just got to be smart.”

-- Tim Haddock

Photo: Jimmie Johnson celebrates winning the NASCAR Banking 500 Only From Bank of America at Lowe's Motor Speedway. With the win, Johnson ties Buck Baker for 13th on the all-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins list. Credit: Rusty Jarrett / Getty Images

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