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Johnson on verge of matching boyhood idol Yarborough's record run

As a boy, Jimmie Johnson worshiped the asphalt Cale Yarborough drove on. Guess who's been admiring JJ of late? The hero is now a fan, writes Ed Hinton.

Updated: October 22, 2008, 10:59 PM ET
By Ed Hinton | ESPN.com

Jimmie Johnson was maybe 8 years old, already racing dirt bikes far and wide, when his father stopped the family's battered van at a hamburger place somewhere in Oklahoma.

This was the first Hardee's restaurant little Jimmie had ever been to. The chain didn't reach as far west as his home region, southern California.

But he had seen that name in big red letters before.

"My dad intended to grab a burger," Johnson recalled Tuesday. "I thought I was going ...

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