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Johnson’s foes lurking, need a repeat of Texas

Probably the good news on that front is that all four are good at Phoenix. All have won races there, and all have average finishing positions of 12.5 or better.

And all were saying the right things despite their respective point deficits — 73 for Martin, 112 for Gordon, 171 for Busch and 178 for Stewart — this week.

Like Martin, who said, “I don't know why everybody tries to cap this thing off and doesn't just wait and watch. There are still two races to go and still things that can happen.”

And Gordon, who said, “A lot can happen in these final two races. There are hundreds of moments that you have as a team every single weekend that maybe don't materialize, or that don't get seen by the public or even the media. But we see it. There are close calls all the time, and it can happen at any time. I get through every race and think, 'Whew, we survived this moment or that moment.' ”

But there, contained in Gordon's statement, it is again: Not so subtle admission that it is going to take at least one more round of car disfigurement on Johnson's part to put real drama back into the Chase.

Probably two.

by Jim Pedley/Sporting News



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Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, qualifies second Friday, July 11, 2014 for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
 
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, qualifies second Friday, July 11, 2014 for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
 
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS, qualifies fourth Friday, July 11, 2014 for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
 
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