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And Another Thing

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One for the thumb ... and the ages

And in the least surprising finish ever ... Jimmie Johnson makes it five straight Sprint Cup titles.

While Denny Hamlin spun and his crew chief, Mike Ford, choked on a crucial pit call .. while Kevin Harvick got docked for speeding on pit lane, J.J. did what J.J. does: come through in the clutch. Overcoming a couple of slow pit stops, he finished second to Carl Edwards at Homestead today, sealing a fifth straight title and -- clap your hands over your ears, all you Johnson haters out there -- presenting indisputable evidence that he's one of the four or five great NASCAR drivers of all time.

The man simply doesn't make mistakes with it all on the line, which is why the easiest bet out there this week was that he'd win it even though he came into Homestead 15 points back of Hamlin. Trailing in the points with two races left, he and his team simply didn't make the sort of mistakes his rivals so often do. It was the first time in Chase history that the man leading the points with two races to run didn't win it.

That's why you can now mention Johnson and his team in the same breath with every other great sports dynasty -- and maybe in the breath before, because the competition in NASCAR these days is light years stiffer than it was for, say, the Yankees in baseball in the 1950s, the Celtics in the NBA in the '50s and '60s and UCLA in college basketball in the '60s.

So, here's to the guy. In a sporting landscape where dynasties simply don't exist anymore, Johnson and Co. are the last great one standing.

Ben Smith's blog.

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