KURT BUSCH WINS DICKIES 500 AS CHASE RACE TIGHTENS UP

Jimmie Johnson wrecked, Kurt Busch won a fuel-mileage thriller and one lucky fan won $1 million at the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday. Johnson's wreck on lap 3 put Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon back in contention for the title with two races to go in the Chase. Busch survived a fuel finish that saw fellow contender Kyle Busch, who was attempting to sweep the weekend, run dry during the closing laps. The big winner? That would be Michael McGee of Broken Bow, Okla. He was named the Di ...

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JIMMIE JOHNSON CRASHES AT TEXAS

Jimmie Johnson's incredible run of great racing and good luck came to a stunning halt at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday when David Reutimann sent Sam Hornish Jr. into the points leader on lap 3 at the Dickies 500. Johnson slammed the inside wall, necessitating an hour-plus trip to the garage. The three-time champion returned to the track on Lap 115 in a rebuilt car, which bore no sponsor decals on the front and rear. Johnson's fourth championship, which looked like a lock before the race, sudden ...

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UPDATED CHAMPIONSHIP PROBABILITY TABLE: JOHNSON HAS 98.6 PERCENT CHANCE OF WINNING

Jimmie Johnson found yet another way to beat the competition Sunday, this time during a bizarre finish at Talladega. As much as this Mark Martin fan hates to say it, Johnson is going to coast to the title unless he has three bad races in a row. And what are the odds Chad Knaus is going to let that happen?First off, we can officially eliminate Denny Hamlin and Brian Vickers from contention. Anybody who is more than 483 points behind can't catch Johnson. After next week's race, anybody 322 points ...

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MARTIN HAS ‘LUCKY’ FEELING ABOUT TALLADEGA

For championship contender Mark Martin, Talladega Superspeedway has been a thorn in his side for years. Although he scored two victories at the 2.66-mile speedway in the mid-1990s, Martin has been knocked around enough to dread the track he calls “the lottery.”Since 2002, Martin has just two top-10 finishes, an average finish of 27th, three DNFs and eight finishes of 20th or worse. During his partial retirement, Martin skipped Talladega, but returned earlier this year and was caught ...

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UPDATED CHAMPIONSHIP PROBABILITY TABLE: JOHNSON ROUTING THE FIELD

Following Sunday's race in Martinsville we have a new, updated championship probability table. As always, the numbers are determined by using past results from this season to predict future success. 1) With the exception of the already-eliminated Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson's second-place finish added to his lead against all of his Chase competitors.2) There really isn't much to say here, with Johnson pulling off finishes like this. It's going to take a wreck for him to lose this title. And ...

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HAMLIN WINS IN MARTINSVILLE AS JOHNSON INCREASES CHASE LEAD

Denny Hamlin won the TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville on Sunday, which is great and all, but the real story is that Jimmie Johnson extended his Chase lead with a second-place finish that stretched his points lead from 90 to 118 over Mark Martin, who finished eighth. The race featured all of the bumping and banging and Scott Speed single-car accidents you come to expect at Martinsville. With four races to go, Johnson looks unbeatable. In other news, at no point did Juan Pablo Montoya go out f ...

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HOW TO JIMMIE-PROOF THE CHASE

David Caraviello at nascar.com has a plan for Jimmie Johnson-proofing the Chase. No, it doesn't involve putting Chad Knaus in a straitjacket and lowering him into a shark tank. Caraviello wants to Jimmie-proof the Chase schedule so the best team in the Sprint Cup no longer runs at seven of its 10 best tracks to close out the season. Would it work? Who knows? To the author's credit, it's slightly more practical than my shark tank solution.  Want to 'Jimmie-proof' Chase? Here's how to do i ...

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UPDATED CHAMPIONSHIP PROBABILITY TABLE: ONLY THREE DRIVERS CAN CATCH JOHNSON

With a win in Charlotte on Saturday, Jimmie Johnson has taken a commanding lead in his quest to win a fourth straight title. 1) Johnson has scored three wins in the last four races.  In each of those wins, he also earned bonus points for leading the most laps. 2) The top four drivers, all in Hendrick-powered equipment, now have a more-than 99 percent chance of winning the championship.  That's up from 94 percent last week.3) Mark Martin and Tony Stewart, by finishing outside th ...

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JOHNSON DOMINATING THE CHASE

CONCORD, N.C. _ He dominated practice. He dominated qualifying. And at the end of the night the right team was celebrating in Victory Lane. Clearly driving the best car all weekend long, Jimmie Johnson was able to give crew chief Chad Knaus the one thing he wanted his entire career – the perfect weekend.Leading five times for a total of 92 laps, Johnson moved past teammate Jeff Gordon with 13 laps to go to take the top spot. Once he cleared the No. 24, Johnson set sail toward the checkered ...

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UPDATED CHAMPIONSHIP PROBABILITY TABLE: JOHNSON PULLING AWAY

The championship probability table underwent a major shakeup this week thanks to Jimmie Johnson’s win in Fontana. (For a refresher on how probability is determined, go here.) 1) Johnson was the big winner in every department. He won the race, took the points lead and gained 18 percentage points here, moving from a 24 percent chance of winning the title to 42 percent. That almost doubles his next competitor. 2) Fortunately for Mark Martin, his fourth-place finish kept him within striking ...

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