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Associated Press
At the finish line on Sunday.

Finish of the year

I've seen a few can't-breathe finishes in my time, having been a motorsports nerd most of my days. David Pearson and Richard Petty crashing each other out, or all but out, with the finish line in sight at Daytona. Al Unser Jr. outdragging Scott Goodyear to the line at Indy. Sam Hornish coming from nowhere to do the same to Marco Andretti at Indy.

Until Sunday, that was the best finish to a major auto race I'd ever witnessed.

Now the Blob has this to chew on. And I have to agree with Mr. Hinton: If this one didn't wring an "Oh, my God!" out of you, you're not now nor have you ever been a NASCAR fan. Or a sports fan, period.

How do you not like eight cars coming to the finish of a 499-mile race in lockstep? Three abreast at the front? With one leading with handful of yards to go, one leading with a handful of feet to go, and one coming out of nowhere in the last five seconds of the race to win by -- wait for it -- two one-thousandths of a second?

It was like rush hour on Coliseum Boulevard, frankly, only everyone was going 200 mph. And it trumps anything I ever saw in all my years watching motorsports.

So, hats off to NASCAR, and hats off to Jimmie Johnson for, in something less than a split second, seeing the narrowest of openings with the narrowest of margins for error and absolutely timing it to perfection. Love or hate him, the man's the best in the sport for a reason, and Sunday he showed us all why again.

Simply awesome stuff.

Ben Smith's blog.

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