Maxim

The Long Reign of Jimmie Johnson

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It was down to two. The Monster Mile, a concrete racing oval at Dover International Speedway in Delaware with a reputation for grinding expensive stock cars into junk, had done its work. Only the number 48 of Jimmie Johnson and the number 42 of Kyle Larson were in position to take the checkered flag. Larson had the faster car by far and had dominated the race, leading for 241 laps. Meanwhile, Johnson had negotiated the Monster like a truant pleading for leniency. He was running on worn tires; he’d been in the lead for a grand total of four laps.

Yet now, a late yellow caution flag, which requires a driver to slow down because of a hazard on the track, meant the outcome rested on a final restart. When the green flag waved,

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