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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)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Toyota, poses with the trophy in Victory Lane with wife Samantha and son Brexton Locke after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Toyota, places the winner`s decal in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Toyota, celebrates with the chequered flag after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Crabill/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Toyota, celebrates by kissing the bricks after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet SS, stops in his pit on his way to a ninth place finish Sunday, July 26, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, races to an eighth place finish with third place finisher Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS Sunday, July 26, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS, finishes in fourth place Sunday, July 26, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS, races to a third place finish Sunday, July 26, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
A detailed view of the Brickyard 400 trophy prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Photo by Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, and Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, take the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Toyota, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Crabill/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-Hour Energy Toyota, and David Ragan, driver of the #55 Aaron`s Dream Machine Toyota, stand on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 25, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 25, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 25, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Crabill/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 25, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Crabill/NASCAR via 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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