With 3 races to go 3 time defending champion Jimmie Johnson the 48 team with Chad Knaus at the helm has a commanding 181 point lead. Unless they blow up and finish 43rd in the next 2 races they have locked up their 4th championship in a row.
While it looked like guys like Tony Stewart, Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon, Kurt Busch, and pre season champion favorite Carl Edwards would mount a charge to the 48's a dominance that is all for not.
For fans who are tired for the monotony , it is time to look ahead and forward to 2010.
Think about it. First year relationships like the one of Tony Stewart and Darian Grubb, Mark Martin and Alan Gustafson, and Juan Pablo Montoya and Brian Pattie will have had a full season under their belt and knowing what their drivers want in their cars.
Roush racing is starting to come back and if not for a wreck at Talladega and a transmission issue at Lowes, we would be talking about Jimmie winning his 3rd out of 4 championships because Carl Edwards was far more dominant than Johnson has ever been in any of his chase appearances and just didn't have the luck on his side.
If Edwards can rekindle that magic again then watch out. Matt Kenseth is a consistent driver and if he can get back to his old ways he will be in the thick of things in 2010.
Pending on who becomes Kurt Busch's crew chief the 2 car could be very strong in 2010 as well.
Jeff Gordon being Jeff Gordon can be in the thick of things. His crew chief Steve Letare must step up to the plate though.
The 2nd Stewart Haas car Ryan Newman could be one to deal with in 2010. Newman ain't no slouch and after a year with his crew chief Tony Gibson he could make a strong statement.
The only driver and team that throughout the chase with the exception of Dover has been faster than the 48 is Denny Hamlin and that #11 team. But wrecks and blown motors have plagued that team. If they can just get that out of the way and have a solid 10 races without major issues they can win a championship.
One of the advantages that the 48 team has is that Jimmie and Chad have been together since 2002. Jimmie knows how to relay info to Chad and Chad knows how to dissect the info given by Jimmie and do what he does best: make the cars go fast.
While Mark Martin has 5 wins, Tony Stewart has 4 wins and more top fives than Jimmie Johnson they still don't have the experience with their crew chiefs like Jimmie does with Chad. Every week is new learning experience for them. They are only going to get stronger once they have a full year of data under them.
So this year's championship battle is over. But have no fear optimism for 2010 is here.
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