Once again, Jimmie Johnson is in position to win a Sprint Cup championship. And if you were the betting type, you'd be wise to throw a few bucks on the 48. But how certain is the win? Let's continue our look back at the last four championships for purposes of comparison and see where Johnson was at this point in the season. The results might give you a bit of hope ... or they might cause you to throw in the towel right now.
2009: Johnson was also in first, and again, only three drivers were within 100 points. Mark Martin was 12 points behind, Juan Pablo Montoya was 58 points back, and Tony Stewart was 84 points down and bemoaning the points reset.
2008: This was the year Johnson had the greatest lead on the field. Again three drivers were within 100 points, but the closest was Carl Edwards at 72 points back. Behind him were Greg Biffle (-77) and Jeff Burton (-99).
2007: Johnson wasn't in first? Nope, Gordon was. Johnson was only seven points back, however. Clint Bowyer, 63 points down, was the only other driver within 100 points of Gordon's lead.
2006: Here's where the fans of a close Chase should look ... or possibly despair. Burton was in first place, followed by four drivers within 100 points: Matt Kenseth (-6), Martin (-10), Harvick (-33) and Hamlin (-51). Where was Johnson? A full 156 points down. So in other words, it's not too late to make a charge. In other other words, if Johnson replicates this run himself, it's over.
For those of you who believe Johnson is a meticulous technician who's planned out every race to the last mile, his quote from Thursday's press conference will either amuse or terrify you. When asked what he thought of next week's race at Martinsville, he responded, "We go to Martinsville next week? I swear I thought it was Talladega. I honestly thought it was Talladega ... I just get on the plane and where it drops me off, I get off."
Oh, boy. Start preparing yourselves now, friends.