Thursday, November 12, 2009

Jimmie Johnson 82 Percent, Mark Martin 12 Percent: Chase Chances for Every Driver

After Sunday's huge shakeup in Texas, the Chase picture is looking a lot more competitive with just two races to go.

1) Anytime you are trying to pass BOTH David Reutimann and Sam Hornish on the outside of the same turn of the same lap on lap three of any race is a boneheaded move. When you have a big points leads in the 34th race of the year, and are that close to a historic fourth consecutive title, that move is even more boneheaded. And to immediately blame Hornish at the end of the race for your own mistake just shows what an ass you really are. Good job Jimmie Johnson for making this Chase interesting.

2) Mark Martin, my own personal favorite in this race, saw his chances go way up after beating Johnson by 34 positions. If you combine Talladega and Texas, Martin has gained 45 points on Johnson in those two races. Only 73 points left to go. He can still pull it out, and there's life in him now.

3) By gaining into Johnson's lead, Jeff Gordon also gained a small chance of being the title winner. But 13th place isn't going to get the job done, especially when you started on the pole.

4) Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart would have stayed at 0 percent the rest of the season had the races played out like we'd seen so far this year. But Jimmie Johnson scored his *worst* finish of the entire year, which shifted our numbers a little bit. That helped bring Busch and Stewart (slightly) into the title picture.

5) We add three more drivers to the official "out" section at the bottom in pink. Hamlin was already eliminated last week, so even his second place wasn't good enough to do anything for him.

6) The most points Martin can score is 6614, meaning Johnson needs 317 points in the next to races to clinch. That's an average of 4th place in both races. All of a sudden that's not a very simple task. He needs two ninth places to stay ahead of Jeff Gordon.

7) Interesting tidbit: in the last two races combined, the Chase driver who has scored the most points is......Greg Biffle, with a 4th and 8th place earning him 302 points total.

8) Looking forward to Phoenix, where in April this year, Martin won and outscored Johnson by 30 points. A repeat of that this weekend would really shift the picture.

email any comments to