Johnson Builds Pre-Chase Momentum

NASCAR's "regular season" came to a close Sunday afternoon.Now The Chase is on. For the most part,it had a rather quiet season for Jimmie Johnson's standards. That is not the case now.  Johnson followed up his Fontana victory by taking the win at Richmond.

 While the season has been focused on Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards, Johnson served notice that he is ready to claim his third straight championship.

NASCAR had an unwanted visitor this weekend that forced schedule changes.  Tropical Storm Hanna moved the Sprint Cup Series Chevy Rock & Roll 400 to Sunday afternoon.  That was just fine with Jimmie Johnson.  He took his second straight win, taking the checkered flag at Richmond.  He led 32 of the 400 laps on his way to his fourth win of the season.

The race was slowed by caution 14 times for 71 laps.  One incident involved two Chase contenders.  The fifth caution flew on lap 123 when David Ragan got loose and collected teammate Matt Kenseth.  Ragan went into Sunday's 13th in the standings with Kenseth not locked in.  One curious incident brought out the day's eighth caution on lap 213 when Dale Earnhardt Jr. spun Kyle Busch.  If you remember back in the Spring, Busch spun Earnhardt in the closing laps while he was leading. 

Behind race winner Jimmie Johnson, the rest of the top ten in order was Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Mark Martin, Jeff Burton, Kevin Harvick, Jeff Gordon, David Reuitmann (who led a race high 104 laps), and Kurt Busch.  Other notable finishes include Clint Bowyer in 12th, Carl Edwards 13th, Greg Biffle 14th, Kyle Busch 15th, Kasey Kahne 19th, David Ragan 32nd, and Matt Kenseth 39th.

The story of the day was who would make The Chase.  At the end of the day, Kasey Kahne and David Ragan would fall short.  Kahne is 13th in the points with Ragan 14th.

As far as the drivers in The Chase, Kyle Busch claimed the top overall seed.  His points number is adjusted to 5,080.  Carl Edwards is second, 30 points behind with Jimmie Johnson the third seed, 40 points back.  Dale Earnhardt Jr. (4th),Clint Bowyer (5th), Denny Hamlin (6th), and Jeff Burton (7th) are all 70 points back.  Drivers who will start The Chase 80 points behind Busch are Tony Stewart (8th seed), Greg Biffle (9th), Jeff Gordon (10th), Kevin Harvick (11th), and Matt Kenseth.

This coming weekend, the Truck Series will race at New Hampshire Saturday afternoon with The Chase for the Sprint Cup drivers starting Sunday, also at New Hampshire.  The Nationwide Series will take the weekend off.

By:  CrimsonCowboy


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