Johnson is picking up steam, while other Chasers struggle to keep pace

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Spinning, smoking and slowing objects in Jimmie Johnson's rear-view mirror may actually be smaller than they appear. Almost to the mid-point of the Chase for the Championship, the champion is apparently getting limber for a long run. Most of his challengers, however, are developing mental or mechanical charley horses. (Have a comment? Send to siwriters@simail.com. You can also follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/brantjames)