Johnson leads Mark Martin, the driver in second place, by 184 points going into today's race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. If Martin wins the final three races and accumulates all 585 possible points, Johnson would need to finish 10th in each of those races to win an unprecedented fourth straight Cup points title.
"Finishing 10th isn't as easy as it sounds," Johnson said in a teleconference last week.
Johnson has made it look easy. He has 22 top-10 finishes in 33 races this year. He has finished in the top 10 in all seven Chase for the Sprint Cup races and has won three. He finished second in April at Texas Motor Speedway and fourth two weeks later at Phoenix, which hosts its second race of the season next weekend.
Johnson has turned the Chase into a dud, spoiling several juicy story lines before they had much of a chance to develop.
The 50-year-old Martin took a full-time ride this year with Hendrick Motorsports, Johnson's team, and won four races during the regular season to enter the Chase with the points lead. Juan Pablo Montoya, the 2000 Indianapolis 500 winner and a former Formula One