Don't Give The 48 The Championship Just Yet

Misan AkuyaCorrespondent IOctober 13, 2009

HOMESTEAD, FL - NOVEMBER 18:  Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet, holds the championship trophy over his head after clinching the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Championship following the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 18, 2007 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

4 races into the chase Jimmie Johnson and the 48 has shown dominance.  Johnson has finished 4th, 1st, 9th, and 1st in the first 4 chase races.  He has led the most laps in 2 out of the 4 races which happen to be the ones he has went to win.  He led 196 laps on his way to a victory at Auto Club speedway and leads the points 12 over Mark Martin.

All hope is lost right?  Wrong

While things look bleak for all who are wanting someone else other than the 48 to win the championship it isn't over.

Lest we forget Mark Martin is only 12 points behind Johnson, Juan Pablo Montoya (who I believe we haven't seen the best of yet) 58 points back, Tony Stewart 84 points back, Jeff Gordon 105 points back, and Kurt Busch 121 points back.

Perhaps for Gordon and Busch it will take Johnson having some issues to win the championship.

But for Mark Martin, Tony Stewart, and Juan Pablo Montoya the championship is more than within reach and they all have a chase to steadily chip away at Johnson's points lead.

Clearly we all have learned to never ever doubt Tony Stewart.  Many critcs believed that Stewart and co would not win races, make the chase, or even finish top 15 in pints. 

Here he is with 2 cars in the chase, 4 wins, a series leading 15 top fives, a series leading 21 top tens, and a series leading average finish of 8.87. 

Clearly Stewart knows how to win championships in the Sprint Cup series with 2 of them, he and Darin Grubb have been amazing together.  Watch for them to make a serious charge and will win more races

There is the ageless wonder Mark Martin.  5 wins this year at the ripe old age of 50 years old.  Mark is finally showing the consistency he needs to be able to win a championship.  He is in the best cars of his career and might just be the best car at Hendrick and not Johnson.

Mark may have never won a cup championship, but he has plenty of experience that will be vital at his quest for his first championship.  He is not going to lay down to Johnson and wouldn't surprise me if he won 1 to 2 more races and he has more than enough talent and speed to do it.

And Juan Pablo Montoya continues to raise eyebrows.  He has made chase history becoming the first driver in chase history to have 4 top fives in the first 4 chase races and I expect that to become 5 after Saturday night at Lowes.

Juan has shown he has the speed and consistency to win this cup.  I don't even think he has to win a race to be champion.  His consistency can win it all.

But he is on the cusp of winning a race and it can happen at anytime. 

This guy is aggressive and will not back down, don't be surprise if he takes on a "whatever it takes" outlook to bring home Chip Ganassi, Felix Sabates, and Teresa Earnhardt a championship.

7 races is plenty of racing left and the wildcard Talladega is still out there lurking.

Anything can and will happen.  So don't crown Johnson the champion just yet.