JOHNSON PASSES MARTIN FOR CHASE LEAD

Boring driver. Boring track. Boring race. Exciting Chase. Sorry for the lack of verbs. But verbs are too active a word choice to describe what transpired at the Pepsi 500 at Auto Club Speedway on Sunday. The good news is that, with his victory, Jimmie Johnson passed Mark Martin for the lead in what is suddenly a very exciting playoff. Johnson leads Martin (-12), Juan Pablo Montoya (-58), Tony Stewart (-84), Jeff Gordon (-105), Kurt Busch (-121) and the rest of the field (-itdoesn'tmatter) with s ...

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CHAMPIONSHIP PROBABILITY TABLE: JOHNSON, STEWART TIED AND MARTIN RIGHT BEHIND

With three Chase races down and seven to go, Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson have emerged as strong favorites, with Mark Martin nipping on their heels and Jeff Gordon still lurking in contention. Championship probability table notes:1) Obviously the big winner in Kansas was Stewart, as he halved the points gap with Martin, and in doing so doubled his percentage chances of winning the title. What was once a two-man race between Johnson and Martin is now a three-man race that includes Stewart. ...

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STEWART WINS KANSAS RACE

Two-time Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart held off four-time champ Jeff Gordon in the final laps of the Price Chopper 400 at Kansas Speedway to win the third race of the Chase. Mark Martin (seventh place) and Jimmie Johnson (ninth place) remain 1-2 in the standings, but Stewart, Gordon (second place) and Juan Pablo Montoya (fourth place) served notice that they will be factors in the final seven races of the Chase. Stewart said he was able to hold off Gordon by "visualizing that I was drivi ...

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CHAMPIONSHIP PROBABILITY TABLE: JOHNSON PASSES STEWART AND MARTIN

 With the Dover race in the record books, just eight races remain until the 2009 Sprint Cup champion is crowned. Let’s take a look at the updated championship probability table, which includes some interesting side notes. 1) The big winner at Dover was Jimmie Johnson, who nearly doubled his chance of winning the Chase. 2) Mark Martin's second-place finish kept him in second place on this table, but his percentage moved up a good chunk, from 18 to 23. 3) Tony Stewart's ni ...

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JOHNSON WINS AAA 400

Jimmie Johnson's march to an unprecedented fourth straight Sprint Cup title continued on Sunday in Dover with his win over teammate Mark Martin in the second race of the Chase. With the exception of the horrific Joey Logano crash, the almost four-hour long AAA 400 lacked for serious drama as Johnson blew the field away. Johnson is now within 10 points of Chase leader Martin. Click here for the updated standings.Johnson wins Chase race at Dover (AP) ...

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WHY YOUR DRIVER WILL LOSE THE CHASE: TONY STEWART

 Nearly two decades have passed since an owner/driver took home the top NASCAR series title. Tony Stewart was in a position to do so after 26 races. He won’t be after 36 races because nobody is winning the 2009 Chase, especially not Tony Stewart. Here’s why: Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth and Jeff Gordon All three drivers led the point standings after 26 races. None of them took home the title the year they led the point standings after 26 races. There is a fair argument to be made ...

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WHY YOUR DRIVER WILL LOSE THE CHASE: DENNY HAMLIN

Denny Hamlin has always been good. But 2009 has been a breakout season for the rising Joe Gibbs Racing star. Too bad his Chase chances will stall, because nobody is winning the 2009 Chase, especially not Denny Hamlin. Here’s why: You play to win the gameHamlin has six wins on NASCAR’s top circuit. None of those wins came on a Chase track. A driver has never won the Chase without winning a Chase race. Hello? Jack Roush can’t dieNASCAR is losing teams, sponsors and owners. J ...

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WHY YOUR DRIVER WILL LOSE THE CHASE: KURT BUSCH

There are plenty of good things to say about Kurt Busch.  Philanthropic. Successful. 2004 NASCAR champion. While I could stroke egos a little longer, I must admit the following: Nobody is winning the 2009 Chase, especially not Kurt Busch. Here’s why:   Dude’s crew chief is banned from the building Pat Tryson is moving to Michael Waltrip Racing, a sign Dodge must really be in the crapper.“They want me to focus on this year's stuff and they've got stuff going on at ...

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WHY YOUR DRIVER WILL LOSE THE CHASE: GREG BIFFLE

Greg Biffle is a model of consistency, with two top-three finishes in the points standings over the past five years. But this year, Biffle will need man's best friend to console him, because there is no way he will win the 2009 Chase. Here’s why: Superspeedways kick him in the bumIn 31 career starts at superspeedways, Biffle only has four top-10 finishes. Talladega has been especially frustrating, with Biffle's average finish just 23rd.April 26th was a long time agoThe Kansas City Royal ...

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WHY YOUR DRIVER WILL LOSE THE CHASE: BRIAN VICKERS

Brian Vickers is a winner. In his third year with an upstart team, Vickers won a race and made the Chase. Good thing he signed a new contract already, because there’s no way Brian Vickers is winning the Chase. Here’s why: Always be closingAlec Baldwin’s best scene as an actor also applies to racing. Teams have to close well.  In the final four races last year, Vickers finished 21st, 18th, 42nd and 32nd. Good luck taking home anything more than a ham sandwich from the te ...

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