Monday, October 20, 2008

Martinsville Monday

While calling the presidential race for Barack Obama might be a tad bit early, the same cannot be said for Jimmie Johnson in his pursuit for a third-consecutive Sprint Cup title. Johnson had another flawless performance at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday, easily holding off late charges by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon. Team Lowes is a machine that simply doesn’t make mistakes under the leadership of crew chief Chad Knaus. Therefore, the only thing that’s left for them is to steer clear of the crashes. And considering their luck over the past six races, that shouldn’t be hard to do with their seemingly insurmountable points lead.

The rest of the race was pretty mediocre for the top-Chasers. Carl Edwards finished third, but Jeff Burton, Clint Bowyer and The Biff did very little. The championship race would be slightly tighter, although still be a runaway, if NASCAR was using the pre-Chase points format. Regardless, the No. 48 is running as well, if not better, than Jeff Gordon and the Rainbow Warriors did a decade ago. The number, driver and paint scheme all are different, but Hendrick is back at it again with another winning combination.

Here’s a look at the standings as they would appear before the Chase. Notice that David Ragan would have bypassed Matt Kenseth for 12th place in the standings.

Standings after Martinsville
1. Jimmie Johnson – 4609 (Leader)
2. Carl Edwards – 4496 (-113)
3. Kyle Busch – 4426 (-183)
4. Jeff Burton – 4295 (-314)
5. Greg Biffle – 4204 (-405)
6. Dale Earnhardt – 4172 (-437)
7. Kevin Harvick – 4100 (-509)
8. Tony Stewart – 4020 (-589)
9. Jeff Gordon – 4019 (-590)
10. Clint Bowyer – 3937 (-672)
11. Denny Hamlin – 3878 (-731)
12. David Ragan - 3802 (-807)
13. Matt Kenseth – 3788 (-821)

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