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 distance of the points lead, and his 22 percent title chance is the same as last week. He hasn't really lost any ground versus the competition as a whole.
3) Tony Stewart, despite working his tail off for fifth place, took a bigger hit, losing 6 percentage points.
4) The biggest loser of the group was Denny Hamlin, who went from a 6 percent chance to virtually zero after his crash on a restart.
5) Six drivers have been virtually eliminated after four Chase races. That's a big shakeup.
6) The top four Hendrick-powered cars now have a combined 94 percent chance of winning the title.
7) Despite the TV announcers calling this one of the closest Chases ever, I see the data showing a big divide between who has a shot and who does not.
(All Left Turns contributor Dale Watermill is the creator of the Watermill Score and edits the racing statistics blog 36 Races. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Winning in NASCAR is like counting cards
Chase bonus points are meaningless
Jimmie Johnson has most points at Chase tracks this season
The Watermill Score: How to win a Sprint Cup title
Replacing crew chiefs has not helped Dale Earnhardt Jr.