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NASCAR Sprint Cup at Fontana: Can Jimmie Johnson Repeat His Spring Success?

Brian Shannon@bshannon15Correspondent IOctober 8, 2010

DOVER, DE - SEPTEMBER 26: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 26, 2010 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Geoff Burke/Getty Images

Jimmie Johnson is back where he belongs, at the top of the Sprint Cup standings.

Johnson and the rest of the Sprint Cup drivers will head to Fontana and the Auto Club Speedway this weekend, a track that has been dominated by the No. 48 over the past five races.

The California native has fared very well at his "hometown" track, winning three of the past five races at Fontana, and five of his 15 career starts there.Ā 

Johnson has won the past three Fontana races that have taken place during the second half of the season and he won earlier this season at the track.

Everything seems to be coming into place for the four-time defending Sprint Cup champion once again this year as he has taken an eight-point lead in the standings over Denny Hamlin.

Johnson has been on fire since struggling to a 25th place finish at Loudon in the Chase's first race, winning at Dover and finishing second at Kansas last weekend.

There is little reason to think Johnson can't win at Fontana again, because the law of averages clearly doesn't apply to the No. 48. Johnson's run at Sprint Cup champion can't last forever, and neither can his success at Fontana, but can he win again this weekend?

Johnson has been very streaky this season. When he is running good he has been very good, and when he has struggled he has really struggled. Jimmie is clearly running well right now, and that should continue this weekend.

A top 10 finish is a virtual certainty for Johnson this weekend, but a win would give Johnson a stranglehold on the Championship yet again.

Johnson has all of the momentum and the confidence to win the Sprint Cup for an unprecedented fifth straight season, and if he wins at Fontana, the other Chase participants can kiss their chances goodbye.

The drivers head to Charlotte next week, a track in which Johnson has won at six times during his illustrious career.

The Chase has never been closer after three races than it is now, but a Johnson victory would have a greater impact than in just the points standings.

A win by Johnson would send a message to the other drivers that he is still the man. It could be a final blow to the morale of the men chasing the Lowe's Chevrolet.

This will be the final race for Fontana during the Chase as next season the track will return to hosting just one race per year. Johnson will rewrite history once more at the track he has dominated so many times before, and close out the track's playoff run with yet another win.

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