(photo by Leon Hammack)
Jimmie Johnson put on driving clinic today for the other 42 drivers to behold. The #48 Hendrick Motorsports Lowe’s Chevy was the dominant race car, without a doubt. Johnson lead 298 of the 400 laps in The Autism Speaks 400 at Dover International Speedway.
With 38 laps to go in the race, the #48 Lowe’s Chevy came off of pit road with a sub par pit stop and exited the pits in 9th place. It was looking like the fastest and most dominant car of the race had just beaten itself, and broken ol DW’s ( Darrell Waltrip) first rule of racing. Up to this point in the race it was Jimmie Johnson’s race to loose, and quite frankly it had looked like the #48 team had done just that!
When the green flag flew, Johnson started picking off the cars one by one until there was only the #14 Office Depot Chevy of Tony (THE SMOKER) Stewart and the #16 3M Ford of Greg Biffle left in front of him. Johnson got by The Bif with ten laps to go, leaving only THE SMOKER’S #14 Office Depot Chevy in the way of gaining his second victory of the 2009 season. With two laps remaining, Johnson made the power move to the outside by driving it deep into the turn and motoring around Stewart to the victory!
With this victory Johnson is establishing himself in a very good position to become the one and only person in NASCAR to win four Cup championships in a row. It appears that the #48 Lowe’s teams has finally started to hit their stride, that can only spell TROUBLE for the other 42 competitors!
The combination of Tony Stewart’s 2nd place finish and Jeff Gordon’s 26th place finish, gives us a new points leader. It is the #14 Office Depot Stewart-Haas Chevy of “THE SMOKER”! It is the first time that an owner-driver has held the points lead since Alan Kulwicki in 1992.
With 13 races completed, the Cup Series is half way to the point where the Chase begins. The top 12 are starting to shape up for the Chase.
Here are some questions that need answers:
1. Does the #88 AMP/ National Guard Chevy make it into the Chase?
2. Will the #48 Lowe’s Chevy make it four championships in a row?
3. Will the #24 Dupont Chevy make their “Drive For Five” a success?
4. Will the #14 Office Depot win the championship for Stewart-Haas Racing?
5. Can “the old man”, Mark Martin, win his first championship?
What are your thoughts? As always, I encourage you to leave a comment and express your views for all to see!