NASCAR Driver Rex Johnson Refuses to Drive on Jewish Holiday

Where Rex Johnson will "pit" for the upcoming Sylvania 300.

Where Rex Johnson will "pit" for the duration of the upcoming Sylvania 300.

LOUDON, NH (The Sportsman’s Daily Wire Service) — Rex Johnson stunned the NASCAR world when he announced that he will not be driving in the September 20th Sylvania 300 to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Having competed in 16 races this year and expected to drive the remaining events on the 2009 schedule, Johnson opted out of one of the year’s most anticipated races.

“As a recent convert to the Jewish faith, Rex didn’t want to get off on the wrong foot, as much as I tried telling him that, c’mon son, it’s not Yom Kippur, it’s the Jewish New Year we’re talking about,” said his crew chief, Marc Finkelstein. “Yom Kippur’s non-negotiable, I understand that — Rosh Hashanah on the other hand cuts you more slack. But heck, as much as we were looking forward to competing later next month, we must honor his decision.”

Johnson was born a Southern Baptist; news of his conversion, let alone his opting out of the Sylvania 300 has left many NASCAR observers scratching their heads.

“As many of you know, Rex has had several near-death experiences on the track in just the past 18 months, which can test any man’s faith,” said Johnson’s spokesman, Arthur P. Schwartz. “During that time Rex has done quite a bit of soul-searching and has dabbled in everything from Zen Buddhism to aroma therapy. One afternoon in between practice runs he picked up a book on Kabbalah that one of the pit crew left lying around. We couldn’t get him back in his car – he was just immersed. Next thing you know Rex is kicking the tires and taking Judaism out for a test drive.”

Now, just three weeks later, Rex Johnson professes to be a practicing Jew, having joined the Beth Emanuel Temple in Raleigh, North Carolina.

“For thirty two years I was just another schmuck without a clue, looking for answers on a race track, when all that time the answer lay just several miles away, at the Beth Emanuel shul,” said Johnson. “Judaism has filled a void. It has made me a better man and will make me a better driver. Unfortunately my wife is having a hard time making the adjustment – but in time, God willing, it will all work out.”

Representatives from Penzoil, Johnson’s sponsor, could not be reached for comment, though word is they are not pleased with Johnson’s decision to have a Star of David emblazoned across the hood of his car.

“I don’t know what Rex is thinking,” said Dale Earnhardt, Jr. “Me, I want Christ riding shotgun. But hey, whatever mishegos works, zeit gezunt.”

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