Dallas Morning News
If Jimmie Johnson's dominance has tempted anyone at NASCAR to try to "Jimmie-proof" Sprint Cup's Chase for the Championship, they should resist. It sure didn't work for golf. Tiger Woods has made "Tiger-proofing" look foolish. His supreme performances, especially at hallowed Augusta National, led some courses to lengthen holes to offset his power. When that didn't work, thicker rough was grown to challenge the world's best player. Of course, nothing has stopped Woods. He can win majors on one good leg. It appears nothing can stop Johnson and his No.48 team, either. There is little drama left in the Chase thanks to Johnson's ability to run up front, stay out of trouble and make all the right moves when it matters most. "I hope that we can bottle it up and keep it for many, many more years, but there's something special going on with this race team and I'm just very proud of that and want to ride the waves as long as it's up," Johnson said after winning Sunday at Martinsville, Va.
What they face
If each of Jimmie Johnson's three closest competitors match their best career finish at each of the remaining four tracks (Atlanta, Texas, Phoenix and Homestead, respectively), here's how badly they would need Johnson to falter to catch him for the championsip:
Driver PB BF JAF
Greg Biffle 149 3rd, 1st, 2nd, 1st 9th
Jeff Burton 152 4th, 1st, 1st, 3rd 10th
Carl Edwards 198 1st, 1st, 4th, 4th 13th
Key - PB: Points behind; BF: best career finish at the remaining four tracks; JAF: The average finish by Jimmie Johnson in order for each driver to win the title, assuming each matches their best finish at each track (lap leader bonus points not included).
The big number? Three
438Points lead by Cale Yarborough, above, with four races left in 1978, the third of his three consecutive Cup titles. He's the only driver to win three in a row.
113What Jimmie Johnson's lead would have been under the old points system, the one used in 1978. And Carl Edwards, not Greg Biffle, would have been second.
Car of many tomorrows
Anyone in the Sprint Cup garage still complaining about the Car of Tomorrow and hoping NASCAR makes big changes for 2009 can forget about it.
The COT is now the Car of Today, and it's staying that way a while.
"There is no official statement on changes to the new car, but I can say that no changes are planned," NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said this week. "Over the course of the year, the teams have adjusted to the new car and have a much better understanding for how to set it up and drive it than they did back in February. Making changes at this point would likely cause teams to have to further make adjustments to their adjustments and that's not productive."