Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Biffle still chasing Johnson for Sprint Cup title

Biffle still chasing Johnson for Sprint Cup title

Although Jimmie Johnson is turning the NASCAR title chase into a rout, neither Greg Biffle nor Jeff Burton is conceding anything to the two-time defending champion.
"I promise you, it's not over," Biffle boasted.
But it sure seems that way as Johnson has steadily pulled away from the competition. He heads into Sunday's Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway up 149 points over Biffle, while Burton is 152 points out with just four races left in the season.
A driver can make up 161 points in a single event, assuming he leads the most laps en route to victory and Johnson finishes last. But that's fairly unlikely to happen to Johnson and his Hendrick Motorsports crew: The No. 48 team has won 13 of the 46 Chase for the championship races since the format was introduced in 2004.
Barring a complete collapse _ and Johnson and his crew are far too prepared for that to happen _ he'll have this title wrapped up well before the Nov. 16 season finale at Homestead in Florida. History is on his side, too: No driver has ever come back from a deficit greater than 144 with four races to go.
But the competition is refusing to concede, despite knowing it will take a perfect month of performance _ and some Johnson bad luck _ to make this a race.
"We're going to have to have four flawless races," Biffle said. "If you do the math, 149 points divided by four, that's obviously what we need to pick up per race _ it's got to be those positions or more. But we know if he slips that we have to capitalize, and if he has a problem, we have got to finish well in that event.
"It's certainly possible. We're just going to do the best we can and see where he ends up at the end of the day."
Johnson isn't claiming the Sprint Cup just yet, either, and is keeping a close eye on the challengers. He's most worried about Carl Edwards, a six-race winner during the "regular season" who slipped to fourth in the standings after mechanical problems in the fifth race of the 10-race Chase.
"If we have a 43rd-place finish, it would probably allow more than just Carl in, but for whatever reason, my eyes have kind of stopped there at Carl," Johnson said. "I try to look at the worst case scenario, and if we leave here with 43rd-place points, who has a shot and who is very good at the tracks that are coming up."
Johnson is the one who is good at the remaining tracks on the schedule, including Atlanta, where he has three wins and nine top-10 finishes in 14 career races. He swept the races here last season, and starts from the pole on Sunday because rain washed out qualifying and the field was set by points.
The exception was the March race here, when Johnson _ and all of Hendrick Motorsports _ struggled to find a groove with the current car. He finished 13th _ his worst showing since 2005.
But Johnson won't go easy on Sunday, or in any other Chase race. He plans to race for wins in pursuit of this title.
"In the past we have been able to win here in the autumn, I would really like to keep that alive and stay aggressive and try to win again in the Chase with everything that is on the line," he said. "We're focused, we're committed and we are excited about the weekend."


Updated : 2021-08-02 21:45 GMT+08:00