Five-time NASCAR points champion Jimmie Johnson is right where he likes to be:
At the head of the pack.
Johnson, a master of superspeedway drafting from the front of the pack, is poised for his sixth title. That would tie him with Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Richard Petty all-time. And it’s sounding more and more like Johnson is settling into his comfort zone as the front-runner. And that’s bad news for the rest of the drivers chasing him in the Chase.
“You know, I feel that the races forward now are up to where the competitors go earn it,” Johnson said. “You don’t have this luck issue that can take place at plate tracks. So I am happy to have the points lead, and we went through a lot of work to get there. We just go racing from here and that is the thing I am most excited for.
Up next is Martinsville Speedway, where Johnson has eight wins, including last season, as well as 16 top-fives, 20 top-10s and three poles.
Matt Kenseth trails Johnson by four in the points standing. He struggled at Charlotte and he better recover fast before Johnson jumps on him and pulls away in the standings.
“Typically, handling is a non-issue here and we just got so loose I couldn’t even hang on to it,” Kenseth said. “ I pretty much had to run in the back for two runs, which was disappointing. We finally got it fixed that last run, but we only had 20 laps to get back up there. I really needed to be up there like we were early and feel like I was controlling the race more — the lanes and the runs and all that and I could never get back to there.”