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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IS WHAT’S GOOD FOR JOHNSON BAD FOR THE SPORT?

By winning three of the first five Chase races, Jimmie Johnson appears to be on his way to a record-breaking fourth straight Sprint Cup Series title. Johnson’s lead at the halfway point in the Chase is a comfortable 90 points. With a string of tracks coming up that set up nicely for Johnson, the burning question isn’t “Will Johnson win another title?”, but rather, “With attendance slipping and television ratings not where NASCAR would like them, is the dominance of ...

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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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JOHNSON GETS KNAUS PERFECT WEEKEND

With his victory at Lowe's Motor Speedway on Saturday night, Jimmie Johnson has won three of the first five Chase races and is pulling away from the field in his quest for a fourth straight Sprint Cup title. Johnson lost the lead to teammate Jeff Gordon following a restart with 15 laps to go, but took the lead back for good two laps later. Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus pulled off a perfect weekend, running the fastest in every practice, winning the pole and the race. The perfect weekend has ...

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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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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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JIMMIE JOHNSON ON ‘TONIGHT SHOW’

Jimmie Johnson - that was funny! (I have always wondered what that sentence would look like. There it is. Weird.) While in Southern California for the Pepsi 500, Johnson made an appearance Thursday on "The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien." Johnson and O'Brien had a good give and take, especially regarding O'Brien's recent on-set head injury. The highlight, though, was the golf cart race between Johnson and O'Brien. No, Johnson did not attempt to surf his cart. If he had, we would all b ...

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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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