The Chase for the Sprint Cup is a little like a water torture: you know what the end result is going to be but it’s not over yet so you have to keep putting up with it.
Which means Jimmie Johnson, who has a 108-point lead over second-place Mark Martin, will not lose the Sprint Cup this season – unless something completely calamitous happens at the final race of the year at Florida's Homestead-Miami Speedway next Sunday.
Like his car won’t start, or something. And nothing – nothing – his crew does can get it going. He finishes 43rd and last and then maybe – maybe – depending on where Martin finishes, he might lose it.
But don’t count on it. In fact, chances are he’ll win the race – and the championship – going away.
Johnson is in a class by himself. He had a terrible, terrible time in Texas last weekend when he was caught up in an early-race wreck and although his guys got him back on track after an hour or so in the garage he was right out of it.
Which brought the Sprint Cup tour to Phoenix International Raceway yesterday and Johnson not only won the race (his fourth of the last five held out there) but he scored maximum points (for winning and leading the most laps – 238 of 312).
That's the fourth time in nine Chase races that Johnson has done that. None of the other Chase contenders – Martin, Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch, et al – have been able to win more than one playoff race. So Johnson has dominated just about completely.
So it’s a lock. Unless, as I said, complete and total disaster strikes.
Click here to read a story about the race but, in a nutshell, it was all Johnson plus two or three obligatory NASCAR Sprint Cup crashes. Same old, same old.
Here’s some other NASCAR News, some with a Canadian angle:
– Ron Hornaday won his fourth Camping World Truck Series championship as a result of finishing fourth in the truck race Friday. Of course, Johnny Benson wasn’t around to challenge him.
– Carl Edwards won the Nationwide Series race on Saturday, thus delaying Kyle Busch from claiming that championship. Busch has to start the race at Homestead-Miami next Sunday in order to win the title.
The third member of the Boys clan from Calgary, Wheeler Boys, made his big-league NASCAR debut in that Saturday race and finished 26th. His father Trevor Boys and grandfather Buddy Boys preceeded him.
Alex Tagliani, with sponsorship from the Quebec Dodge Dealers Association, crashed his Randy MacDonald Motorsports car during qualifying for the Nationwide race and had to start in the team’s backup, which wasn’t set up for a short track like Phoenix.
Tags finished 38th after starting and then parking after 14 laps.
He was pretty rough on himself afterward because the 81 car was in the top 35 in the Nationwide standings and was guaranteed a starting position, meaning he didn’t have to push that hard to qualify.
– Andrew Ranger of Roxton Pond, Que., was honoured at a gala banquet in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday night for winning the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series championship.
Also on hand to receive awards were second-place Canadian Tire finisher D.J. Kennington of St. Thomas (who also received the Mopar Cup for being the top-finishing Mopar driver in the series) and third-place finisher Ron Beachamp.
The 2010 Canadian Tire Series schedule was released in Charlotte on Saturday afternoon and a major addition is a race through the streets of the CNE in July as part of the Honda Indy Toronto weekend.
For that story, click here.
- And before we go, it must be noted that Formula One racer Jarno Trulli will test for two days with Michael Waltrip Racing at the New Smyrna Speedway south of Daytona.
The New Smyrna Speedway? What is that all about?