What has three-time defending Cup champion Jimmie Johnson done differently this year?

For one thing, he's sporting a full beard. For another, he's 19th in the Cup standings, the worst points position he's occupied three races into a season since 2004, when he also was 19th.

To Johnson, though, there's no relationship between the beard and his performance on the track. Johnson doesn't think the facial hair is bringing him bad luck.

"I've heard a variety of opinions from the fans," Johnson said before Cup practice on Saturday. "Some love it, and some hate it. But again, if momma (presumably wife Chandra Johnson) likes it, it's staying.

"I disagree on the unlucky thing. We've created most of the issues we've had. It hasn't been the beard..."

by Reid Spencer/Sporting News