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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)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, applies the winner`s decal in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 31, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 31, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 31, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 31, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 31, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, pits along with the rest of the field during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 31, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, and Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Panasonic Chevrolet, lead a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 31, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmer`s Insurance Chevrolet SS, races to win with Kyle Larson, driver of the 42 Target Chevrolet SS beside him finishing in eighth place Sunday, August 31, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. With this win, Kahne, a Hendrick Motorsports driver, is in the Chase. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmer`s Insurance Chevrolet SS, celebrates his win with a burnout Sunday, August 31, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. With this win, Kahne, a Hendrick Motorsports driver, is in the Chase. (Photo by Christa L. Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmer`s Insurance Chevrolet SS, is congratulated by his Hendrik Motor Sports teammates Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Panasonic Toughbook Chevrolet SS (left), Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS (center) and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet SS (right) after his victory Sunday, August 31, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. With this win, Kahne joins Gordon, Johnson, and Earnhardt Jr. in the Chase. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmer`s Insurance Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory Sunday, August 31, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. With this win, Kahne, a Hendrick Motorsports driver, is in the Chase.  (Photo by Christa L. Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet, takes the green flag waved by Evander Holyfield to start the NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 30, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 30, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS, qualified for twelfth position Friday, August 29, 2014 for Sunday`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. After a three-race absence, Tony Stewart has returned to the track at Atlanta. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS, qualified for fourth position Friday, August 29, 2014 for Sunday`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. Newman is 9th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet SS, qualified for third position Friday, August 29, 2014 for Sunday`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. Larson is 12th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Christa L. Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, won the Pole position Friday, August 29, 2014 for Sunday`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. It was Harvick`s sixth pole win of the 2014 season. He is 7th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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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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