Looking back at Jimmie Johnson’s win at Texas, NASCAR’s title Chase and other motor racing over the weekend, five things come to mind:
--Johnson hasn’t won his sixth title yet. It’s down to Johnson and Matt Kenseth for the championship, with Johnson holding a seven-point edge with two races left, at Phoenix and Homestead-Miami. But remember what happened last year? Johnson arrived in Phoenix with an identical seven-point lead, crashed and lost the title to Brad Keselowski. It likely will go down to the wire.
--Even so, Johnson is a favorite at Phoenix. He’s the all-time leading Sprint Cup Series winner at Phoenix with four victories, and he was second behind Carl Edwards in the spring race there this year. But Kenseth also knows his way around the one-mile oval in the desert, having won once there before, and his comeback from a speeding penalty in Texas to finish fourth showed he’ll be tenacious until the end.
--Kyle Busch is giving a good account of himself. Busch likely won’t win the Chase, but the Joe Gibbs Racing driver is having a good postseason. He’s now fourth, 52 points behind Johnson, after a tire problem sent him into the wall at Texas and left him with a 13th-place finish. If the temperamental Busch can keep his position or move up in the last two races, he’ll have the best points finish in his career.
--John Force’s coronation awaits in Pomona. As the National Hot Rod Assn. closes its season this weekend at Auto Club Raceway, Force already has clinched a record 16th funny car championship. But the top-fuel title is still up for grabs, even though Shawn Langdon has a comfortable 102-point lead over reigning champion Antron Brown. This also will be the first time Brown has returned to Pomona since his harrowing crash there in February.
--Bryan Clauson has yet another USAC title. With his second-place finish in the season finale at Perris Speedway, the 24-year-old driver won his second consecutive USAC National Sprint Car championship. This is Clauson’s sixth USAC title overall, and he won his latest driving for the Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing team.