At Martinsville Jimmie Johnson and the Lowes 48 started 15th, led 164 laps, and finished 2nd and putting a 118 point advantage over Mark Martin, a 150 point advantage over Jeff Gordon, a 192 point advantage over Tony Stewart and a 200 point advantage over Juan Pablo. It is just about a lock for the 48 team win yet another championship.
Or is it?
Why do I say that you ask? Easy. Talladega the land of anything can and will happen. The only dnf of Johnson's season came at Talladega when he finished 30th after being involved in the 2nd bigone.
Think about what the points could look like if Jimmie would end up 30th again and Stewart, Martin, and Gordon would finish 1-2-3-4 (could happen it is Talladega isn't it?)
Tony Stewart instead of being 192 points behind Johnson would be only 75 points behind Johnson if he would win the race and lead the most laps. That is a 117 point gain.
For Mark Martin if he finished 2nd he would be only 21 points behind Johnson and not 118. That would be a 97 point gain.
If Jeff Gordon would finish 3rd he would be only 58 points behind Johnson and not 150 points. That would be a 92 point gain.
If Juan Pablo Montoya would finish 4th he would be 113 points behind Johnson instead of 200. That would be an 87 point gain.
There are a few things that could happen at Talladea. All these guys could get in the big one, Johnson could have a great day even win and pretty much lock it up after Talladea, or Johnson could get caught up in the big wreck finish in the 30s or worse, while Martin, Stewart, Gorodn and Montoya have great points days.
Talladega is NASCAR's last hope for the championship battle and perhaps have someone other than the 48 team be the champion.
It will more than likely be impossible for Johnson to lay back as the other 42 drivers in the garage have nothing to lose and all to gain. Thus Johnson will have to be in the thick of things.
Talladega has been friendly to Johnson with a win in 2006, and placing 2nd in both races in 2007.
But from 2002 to 2006 in the fall race he failed to finish better than 24th with finishes of 37th, 34th, 37th, 31st and 24th. And all but his 31st place finish were dnfs.
This might be the only weakness the 48 has and perhaps the chasers can take advantage of it.