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« Championship rivals have opportunity to gain on Edwards, Kenseth in Martinsville | Main | Debate over team orders is pointless »

Martinsville represents now or never for Johnson and the Busch brothers

By admin | October 25, 2011

By Richard Allen


It seems as though many fans and media alike are afraid to pronounce Jimmie Johnson’s Sprint Cup title hopes as dead. Well, if those hopes are not done for, they’re on life support. As of now, the five time consecutive champion is 50 points behind leader Carl Edwards. With the new points scoring system put in place this year by NASCAR, that’s more than can be gained in a single race.

If no one else wants to declare Johnson’s bid for a sixth championship over with, mathematics is about to do it for them.

But along with Johnson fighting for his championship life, two of the drivers thought to be among his most dangerous challengers coming into the Chase for the Championship playoff are also near mathematical elimination. Brothers Kurt and Kyle Busch have deficits that with only four races remaining will be difficult to overcome.

Kurt Busch trails Edwards by 52 points while the leader’s advantage over Kyle Busch stands at 40.

These numbers don’t lie. Each of these three drivers is on the verge of de facto elimination if they cannot make a move in Martinsville. After Sunday, there will only be three races left on the schedule and to leave Virginia with the same deficits or worse will not be good enough. Johnson and the Busch brothers must make up ground in the Tums Fast Relief 500.

And this may be just the race to make that happen. The top-2 in the standings, Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth, do not count this as one of their better tracks( ).

While the two Roush Fenway drivers struggle on the paper clip shaped half-mile, Johnson is stellar there. He has amassed six wins throughout his career in Martinsville and has an amazing average finish position of 5th. If there has ever been a track where this driver could make up ground, this is it.

However, the often controversial brothers from Las Vegas have not had the same success as Johnson here.

Kyle Busch has never won a race at this venue and his average finish is but a mediocre 15th. The younger Busch can boast of six top-5 runs on the track but he has also scored five finishes outside the top-20.

Like his brother, Kurt Busch has been inconsistent at best in the small Virginia hamlet. He did win once on the relatively flat oval but has had little else to brag about. The elder Busch’s average finish is a dismal 21st.

For Jimmie Johnson as well as Kurt and Kyle Busch this weekend is a time of now or never if they are to remain contenders for the Sprint Cup title. Johnson simply needs to keep on doing what he has always done at Martinsville and hope to take advantage of the top-2 drivers’ weakness on the track. However, the Busch brothers must step up their performance on a track that has not always been so kind to them.

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2 Responses to “Martinsville represents now or never for Johnson and the Busch brothers”

  1. Taz Says:
    October 26th, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Good Luck Jimmie you can do this !

  2. Charles Says:
    October 27th, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    Just got done watch Race Hub, wondering what they were going to say about Chads Kanus comments about trying “to damage the car” after Talledag if he won, and his comments was caught on tv!

    Got a chuckle on how the did ‘damage control’ for Chad, ‘or teams were nervious at Talledaga is what they said” Ryan Pemberton O ‘I dont think this is a big deal” etc! nothing to it!

    Only days before Bob Dillner and Steve Bynres were hot on Jack Roush for team orders, micro everything he said and bascially said Roush was not telling the truth!about the Trevor Bayne incident!

    They had Richard Childress on the next day, never never did they ask him would he have done anything different than Roush did, he had already said in a local paper he would worked with Chevy teams he had been with them 45 years, but on “Race Hub” “no mas” But Roush got throwed under the bus for a ‘no story’ and they tried to make him a villian while giving others a pass!

    This is a classic example of seemly favoritism in the news outlets, see Chad has a T.V show with Larry McReynolds, on Speed, they are “doing damage control” for Chad and Hendrick etc, letting the dust settle and thinking we should ‘just accept it” I also believe if that had come from anyother team, and mainly a Roush team he would have been demonized again, probably points taken away, fined for detremental action or comments to the sport… just waiting to see Nascar does?

    I am not saying what Chad did say hasnt been done by others, infact Richard I said in this column years ago, they should “never do a burn out” after a race or spin donuts because it could cover up illegal parts of a car, and Nascar needs to put a stop to this!!Cheating is high tech now, and with Fuel Injection coming, just wait!

    But when talking about “team orders” this one doesnt even pass “the smell test” and coming with someone who has past history of creative things it definetly needs investigating and renounced! and just before the race had started!!!!! Nascar when fines on tolarences always has said in the past ‘build them in the car”

    Chads comments just showed Nascar needs to take a closer look at inspections procedures, and also a ‘conflicts of interest policy”to keep team owners from mabe throwing money to Nascar workers for favorable treatment!