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The 2009 Chase: Is it over?

We're four races into the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, and Jeff Gordon has written his concession speech.

It goes something like this:

“Yeah, they have something magical about the final ten races. You know, these ten tracks really suit them. They do an incredible job. What else can you say? They're the best out there. They've won the last three championships. They're going to be hard to beat for this one. Really, unless they make a mistake, I don't see how they lose it.”

“They,” of course, are driver Jimmie Johnson, crew chief Chad Knaus and the rest of the #48 Hendrick Motorsports team, the outfit that — after two wins in the first four Chase races — is the odds-on choice to win a record fourth straight Cup title.

Other drivers polished off the eulogies for their Chase aspirations in Sunday's Pepsi 400 at Auto Club Speedway, where Johnson won in a romp, and Gordon fashioned a blue-collar second-place finish.

Brian Vickers' demise was a broken right rear shock tower that made his #83 Toyota handle like a pogo stick. Vickers also caught a piece of a multicar wreck on lap 245 and finished 29th. He's twelfth in the standings, 351 points behind Johnson and out of the championship picture.

Kasey Kahne saw a promising run laid to rest when Kurt Busch's runaway Dodge bounced of the turn four wall and knocked Kahne's Dodge into Greg Biffle's Ford. The lap 245 wreck delivered the coup de grace. At 306 points out of first place, Kahne also is out of contention.

Ryan Newman finished 15th after an up-and-down day that included a blown tyre on lap 81. Now 223 points behind Johnson, Newman has very little air left in his title hopes. Newman fell from ninth to 15th after the final restart on lap 248 of 250. “We had the inside lane on that last restart, and that was kind of the doom of death for us,” Newman said.

Denny Hamlin fell on his sword on a lap 190 restart, when he tried to move to the bottom of the track. One problem: Juan Pablo Montoya's Chevy was already there. With his Toyota heavily damaged, Hamlin finished 37th and took a 120-point hit in the standings. He dropped from sixth to ninth, 219 points behind Johnson. “Made contact with the nose of the 42 (Montoya) and ended up taking ourselves out,” Hamlin said. “I was just a dumb mistake.” No disagreement here.

The Chase prospects of Carl Edwards (192 points behind) and Biffle (188 back) are on life support. If you listen to the tone of resignation in Gordon's voice, however, not even Mark Martin — 12 points behind his team-mate — has much of a chance.

“We're doing everything we can to be good enough, but it's just not there,” Gordon said after moving up two spots in the standings to fifth, 105 points behind Johnson. “So we've got to search and find something. You know, we've got to be better than that. I feel like Charlotte's a good track for us (Oct. 17), and I'm looking forward to going there.




Related Pictures

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immie Johnson (No. 48), Jeff Gordon (No. 24), Juan Pablo Montoya (No. 42) and Mark Martin (No. 5) lead the field late in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pepsi 500 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. Johnson went on to win the race, his second victory in the Chase, and replace Martin as the Chase leader. (Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, lead a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, passes Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, to take the lead and win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and team owner Tony Stewart celebrate winning in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates with his wife DeLana and son Keelan in victory lane after winning during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Marcos Ambrose, driver of the #9 Stanley Ford, poses with his team before his last race, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, leads Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

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scott - Unregistered

October 13, 2009 3:10 PM

When are the suits at crash.net going to run some stories on JPM???????????? He said F1 sucked in interviews, not crash.net The guy can be champion this year and you might miss the cool thang going on in the usa



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