Jimmie Johnson and Mark Martin SHOULD shine at Phoenix
Jimmie and Chad making a mistake is highly unlikely, but if he happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, as he was last week in Texas, Mark intends to capitalize on that bad luck. He wasn't able to do so in Texas, and didn't gain the points he needed to make this a true contest again.
Jeff Gordon also wasn't able to capitalize on Jimmie's misfortune. He and Steve Letarte seemed to be well on their way to a top three or even a win, but troubles later in the race prevented that from happening.
So what can we expect at Phoenix? The race has always been an important one, dating back as long as the track has been on the circuit. In the early '90's, Mark was also in the mix, but in those days he was battling with Earnhardt Sr. Davey Allison and Alan Kulwicki As we all know, he wasn't successful in those battles back then, and it looks, as of today, that his efforts this year won't be quite enough.
That is, of course, unless lightning strikes twice and Jimmie has trouble again. Because, let's face it, the Championship really is down to that.
All the rest of the Chasers are virtually out of contention. All the more reason for them to all, each and every one of them, to attack at Phoenix. Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle haven't won a race this year, after huge successes last year. Juan Pablo Montoya told everyone his team was going for consistency, staying out of trouble, and don't worrying about wins.
Now is the time all of those guys need to step up to the plate, and hit for the stands
And don't count out those guys further back. Kyle Busch didn't make the Chase and has a new Crew Chief. Dave is going to be out to show the naysayers that he deserves this promotion. Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer and Jeff Burton were all in the Chase last season, but found themselves on the outside looking in this year. Richard Childress has made crew adjustments and promised his teams they are here to stay and next year will be an entirely different year than this, Matt Kenseth didn't make the Chase for the first time since its inception, a huge disappointment, after winning the first two races of the year.
And then there's Dale Earnhardt Jr. He has had a disasterous year and much was made of the separation of him from his cousin Tony Eury Jr. Lance McGrew took over the Crew Chief's spot, and was recently announced as being the Crew Chief for 2010. Although we saw some improvement early on, the two just haven't been able to be there at the end. No end of difficulties have met their efforts. If Dale Jr hopes to have any kind of a hope for 2010, and a reasonably pleasant winter break, he needs to do something now.
The season used to end at Atlanta, and I for one, loved that. Now we end at Homestead. Some of our Q-ers will be there for the grand finale and I can only hope they have a show. I don't want this Chase to be decided in Phoenix, I want it to go right down to the last lap of the last race of the season. Me? I'd love to be up on Monument Hill at Phoenix, watching this race.
Who's your pick for Phoenix? Who do you thinks will shine at Phoenix? Will it be Jimmie? or the Spring race winner, Mark Martin? or someone not in the Chase?
I'm really not sure who I want to pick. Logic says I should pick Mark or Jimmie, but honestly? I think i'll take Smoke.