Sorry, Jimmie Johnson fans, but it's time to face facts: your guy's run is over.
Coming into the penultimate round of this year's Chase for the Sprint Cup at Phoenix, Johnson had the series points lead by seven over Brad Keselowski. With both teams functioning at a high level, everything appeared set for Johnson to claim his sixth title, albeit by a close margin.
After a shredded tire, loose lug nut, and mechanical failure, Johnson would drop to third in the final two races.
Sure, Johnson, crew chief Chad Knaus, and the rest of their Hendrick Motorsports team will be back for 2013 and beyond. But there are plenty of reasons to suggest that this team might have peaked.
Here are a few of them: