The Final Word – Texas proves Johnson not done yet…as if any sane person believed he was

Enough with the contrived fake news. No, I am not talking about folks who think their candidate was robbed for being of a certain gender, or obviously the victim of the actions of a foreign power, or that they lost to someone who just has to be Darth Vader incarnate. Hell, I’m not even referring to those who deliver you all the news and nothing but the news, unless the facts are contradictory to the narrative they want to present. Nope. None of that.

Fake news is presented by those wasting our time wringing their hands over whether someone in the Top Sixteen in points is actually going through some sort of career meltdown. A story about nothing. A story about someone who has not won a championship since way back in November. Someone without a single win since November 20th when he locked up that seventh title. Someone barren of triumphs for six entire races. Good bloody grief.

So, if for no other reason than to shut up the twits, those scribes with the attention span of gnats, those with nothing better to do than spout about nothing, Jimmie Johnson won a race. It was the 81st of his career, one that extended his win streak to at least one a season since 2002. Maybe we should be worried. He has only won once. In the past, the lowest he ever claimed in a single year was two, and that happened once, in 2011. I should be quiet. I do not want to give some moron a fake news idea to run with.

Johnson was not terribly visible in the opening stage in Texas. Due to changing some flat spotted tires after practice, he started from the rear. They worked on a way to claim second in the second stage and succeeded. Then his beast came alive and was relevant for much of the final run, beating out a hard charging Kyle Larson for the victory. Who else would be the runner-up? Over the past six events, Larson won at Fontana and claimed second in four others. Maybe we need a story to discuss his rapidly expanding two-race slump.

Ryan Blaney won the opening two stages but was 12th in the end. No win, but like Johnson and Larson, was among six drivers who collected 40 or more points on the day. Jamie McMurray was in a Top Five ride through the opening two segments, and a Top Ten at the end. Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski both were near the front for most of Sunday, as well. They had good days.

Austin Dillon did not. A part of the rear suspension not known to let go did before they even waved the green flag. While the others went down the track, he went directly to the garage. A 33rd place finish was his fate. You could say that, through no fault of his own, at Texas, the cowboy was all hat, no cattle.

If 40 points mean one did well, a dozen or less equates into 25th place and beyond, probably indicating a day somewhat less than stellar. Hello, Denny Hamlin and Ryan Newman. What they had just was not enough. Nowhere close.

Before the Pulitzer-winning wannabe’s shift their focus from Johnson to Dale Earnhardt Jr., his fifth place finish moves him finally into the Top Twenty in the standings. Dillon drops out. Danica Patrick, she who I believe is among our most relevant 27, is sitting 29th in the standings. Chris Buescher and Michael McDowell seem to be presenting the argument that there are actually 29 relevant rides, based on a combination of talent, equipment, and marketing. Some might argue that the number should actually be reduced to 26.

Maybe those who have been left in a panic with the loss of the bogus “Jimmie Johnson has gone to hell” storyline might want to focus their attention on discussing that one, instead. Just a thought as the rest of us shifts our attention to the week off before action resumes in Bristol. Bristol, where excitement is all but guaranteed. No false news regarding that statement. Anyone disagree?

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of

Ron Thornton
Ron Thornton
A former radio and television broadcaster, newspaper columnist, Little League baseball coach, Ron Thornton has been following NASCAR on this site since 2004. While his focus may have changed over recent years, he continues to make periodic appearances only when he has something to say. That makes him a rather unique journalist.


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