IT’S A LONG SHOT, BUT MARTIN CAN STILL WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP

Jimmie Johnson’s win last weekend in Phoenix seemed to put the final touches on his fourth straight championship run. With just one race standing between him and a record-breaking fourth straight Sprint Cup trophy, all Johnson will have to do next weekend at the Ford 400 at Homestead is finish 25th or better to earn the title. Me? I don’t hear the fat lady singing just yet. (And yes I am looking in your direction, Eddie Gossage.) Hendrick Motorsports teammate Mark Martin still ...

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UPDATED CHAMPIONSHIP PROBABILITY TABLE: JOHNSON HAS 97 PERCENT CHANCE OF WINNING

After his win in Phoenix on Sunday, Jimmie Johnson's lead is now 108 points over Mark Martin. We almost don't even need a probability table for this week, but let's go ahead and check it out anyway. (Can you tell I’m a Martin guy?)1) First off, everybody from third place on down is eliminated. That includes you, Jeff Gordon.2) Martin needs to outscore Johnson by 109 points or more in the last race at Homestead in order to win the title. Obviously, that's a tough task, basically requiring t ...

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JOHNSON INCREASES CHASE LEAD IN PHOENIX

Let us all now come to grips with what is about to happen. Jimmie Johnson, with his victory at Phoenix on Sunday, is destined to win his fourth straight Sprint Cup title next weekend. We can bemoan this fact. Or we can celebrate it. I choose to celebrate it. Johnson and Chad Knaus are outstanding competitors, and we are lucky to witness their excellence every weekend, even if said excellence is so vanilla in flavor. Johnson rebounded from his disastrous wreck last week in Texas to dominate the C ...

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UPDATED CHAMPIONSHIP PROBABILITY TABLE: MARTIN AND GORDON STILL HAVE A SHOT

Jimmie Johnson’s crash in Texas shook up the Chase and the championship picture is suddenly more competitive than it was one week ago. Remember, probability is based upon past performance this season predicting future success. My notes with two races to go: 1) Anytime you are trying to pass BOTH David Reutimann and Sam Hornish Jr. on the outside of the same turn on lap 3 of any race – that’s just a boneheaded move. When you have a big points leads in the 34th race of the ye ...

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CRASH PUTS FIRST DENT IN JOHNSON’S QUEST FOR FOURTH STRAIGHT TITLE

Have you ever noticed that trouble strikes when you least expect it? For Chase leader Jimmie Johnson, that was the case Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway. With a 184-point advantage over teammate Mark Martin, Johnson simply needed to finish 10th or better in the final three races in order to claim his fourth straight title. After making it through the chaos in the closing laps at Talladega, Johnson was unable to make it three full laps at the Dickies 500, where he was the favorite to win. Exiti ...

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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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WHY WATCH THE REST OF THE SEASON?

Nappin at the track - Watch more Funny VideosThe season is almost over, last weekend was a snoozer (video is from Talladega on Sunday), Jimmie Johnson probably will lock up the championship this weekend and your driver was mathematically eliminated weeks ago. What reason does anyone have to keep watching NASCAR?Here are five reasons to keep your eyes glued to the tube for the last three races of the season.1. Race for the BuffetThe Race for the Chase has been replaced by the Race for the Buffet. ...

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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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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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WHAT WE CAN LEARN FOR 2010 FROM THE 2009 CHASE

After this compelling analysis suggesting the 2009 Chase is essentially over, it’s time to start looking for meaning in these races and how they could impact 2010. There are some trends that point in some interesting directions. Chevy is heavy.Now we know where the government bailout dollars are going. Eight of the top ten drivers in the six Chase races drive for Chevy.  While the Hendrick mafia sits one, two and three, drivers from three other teams also find themselves in the top ...

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