Jimmie Johnson has piled on the superlatives during this 2013 season, which just might go down as one of the all-time best years in NASCAR history (of course, there’s that “championship” thing that still needs winning).
He’s won the Daytona 500. He’s won the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. After the second Pocono race, he led the standings by 77 points – the highest ever since NASCAR went to the point-per-position system in 2011.
And at Watkins Glen, he clinched a spot in the 2013 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. He continues to be the only driver to make every single Chase since its inception in 2004. Johnson’s clinch also matched the earliest clinch in Chase history, tying Jeff Gordon who also clinched at The Glen in 2007.
But maybe the most astounding part of it all: We might have to wait an entire two weeks before someone else clinches. That’s how dominant Johnson has been compared to the rest of the field.
A few drivers can clinch at Michigan, but will need lots of help from others. The magic number for this weekend is 145. Any driver 145 points ahead of 11th place leaving Michigan will clinch a top 10 Chase spot. Clint Bowyer (currently 110 points ahead of 11th) and Carl Edwards (105 points) are in a position to clinch.
Matt Kenseth can clinch at least a Wild Card berth with a win, but it’s not guaranteed, since a win won’t necessarily lock Kenseth into the top 20 – a necessity for a Wild Card spot.