Hard to believe, but Jimmie Johnson has one win since last year's second Dover race, a span of 34 races. And that win came at Talladega, in one of the best finishes in recent Sprint Cup memory.
Yet look who was at the top of the points standings heading into Richmond? Oh yeah, that guy.
It certainly says something about being able to win a race and be in the top 10 17 times in 26 races and look "vulnerable." Sure, this year looks like it could be the first year on the P.V. (Post Vader) calendar, but weren't folks thinking that last year?
We saw how that turned out.
Johnson's best Chase track: How about all of 'em? His stats are especially ridiculous at Phoenix, where he's got 4 wins, 11 top fives and 14 top 10s in 16 races. And he may be even better at Martinsville, with six wins and 17 top 10s in 19 races.
Johnson's worst Chase track: From an average finish point of view, it's Talladega, but you never count out a Hendrick car at a plate track. He doesn't have wins at Chicago or Homestead, but to be fair, he and Knaus have been able to be fairly conservative at Homestead and this is the first time Chicago has been in the Chase.
Key Question: Will any of the pit crew issues that have plagued the No. 48 bunch over the past two seasons pop up again? And if they do, can they overcome them again?
NB's Prediction: 1st. To be the best, you have to beat the best, and the whole 48 bunch has shown that there's no question that they're still elite. Look for that season win total to triple in the Chase.