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NASCAR Monster Energy Cup driver Jimmie Johnson signs auotgraphs on his way to the driver's meeting. The GEICO 500 was Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway in Eastaboga. (Photo by Trent Penny)

As the old saying goes, “All good things must come to an end.”

With the exception of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who keeps winning Super Bowls well into his 40s, Father Time has a way of catching up with our favorite sports heroes.

It certainly appears to have caught up with NASCAR legend Jimmie Johnson.

Coming off a 34th-place finish at Michigan, the seven-time Cup Series champion currently sits in 18th place in the point standings with three races remaining before the playoffs. Johnson, 43, is battling Ryan Newman, Clint Bowyer and Daniel Suarez for the final two playoff spots. Two will get in, two won’t. The four drivers are separated by just 22 points entering this weekend’s race at Bristol.

Johnson has 83 Cup Series victories in his career, but hasn’t found Victory Lane since June 4, 2017, when he won at Dover International Speedway.

Jeff Gordon’s four championships — 1995, 1997, 1998 and 2001 — helped to put Hendrick Motorsports on the map. But when Gordon began to slow down, Johnson picked up the slack, bringing home five straight titles from 2006-2010 and two others in 2013 and 2016. Unfortunately, just like he did to Gordon, Johnson appears to have been surpassed by his younger teammates. Chase Elliott, Alex Bowman and William Byron are locks to make the playoffs, while Johnson brings up the rear at Hendrick.

Johnson has never missed the playoffs in his career, and let’s face it, the ride won’t be the same without him.

Here’s hoping “Seven Time” can fight off Father Time just a little while longer.

Sports Copy Chief Jared Gravette: 256-235-3572. On Twitter: @Jared_Gravette.

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