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 that assumes his competitors are able to finish clean at the same time.
3) Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon are really the only two guys with a reasonable shot at catching Johnson.
4) I know some people like to wait for drivers to be "officially mathematically eliminated," so with four races to go, any driver more than 644 points will be out. Technically, all 12 drivers are within that number. After next week, all drivers 483 points behind officially will be knocked out.
5) But we don't need to wait until next week because half of the field has no chance of winning the championship anyway. And if you consider Juan Pablo Montoya and Kurt Busch as practically having no chance, that leaves eight guys on the outs.
6) I don't think having a blowout like this was the intention when the Chase was created. The ironic part is that if there was no Chase system right now, the top three drivers would be separated by just 122 points. In fact, the Chase system has widened that number, making the championship less competitive than it otherwise would have been. Click here to see how I made this point last year as well.
7) Not much else to say this week other than, "Will Johnson wreck?"
(All Left Turns contributor Dale Watermill is the creator of the Watermill Score and the FLOPPER Award and edits the racing statistics blog 36 Races. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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