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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Montoya continues to impress with fourth Chase top-5

As Jimmie Johnson took yet another win and continued his march to another title, I took notice of another, more amazing statistic: Juan Pablo Montoya took home his fourth top-5 finish in four Chase races.

Because of this amazing record in the past month, he is the only driver staying close to the awesome Hendrick duo of Mark Martin and Johnson.

Unless Johnson and Martin gets caught up in a wreck at Talladega or elsewhere, there is a good chance that Montoya will have to keep up this amazing pace if he wants to have a shot at the title.

Amazingly, he looks like he might be able to stay running this hot, all while driving for a team, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, that was a big question mark at the beginning of this season.

If he can somehow pull off the unthinkable, run in the top-5 all Chase long and take the title from Jimmie Johnson, it will be one of the most amazing stories in NASCAR history.

In order to make that happen, he will most likely have to win at least one race of the remaining six.

History isn't on Montoya's side, as the big teams usually win out, but I'll be rooting him on ... and so will millions of other fans who are finally starting to realize that he really does have the goods to win it all at the Cup level.

Hamlin ruins his season with 'rookie mistake'
It looked like Denny Hamlin might be able to hang in the title hunt, but he can blame himself for knocking himself out of contention. Leading the race after a pit stop at California, he drove directly into the front of Montoya's car and ended up ruining his car and his title hopes.

He admitted to the 'rookie mistake' afterward, but I find the whole thing ironic considering how he's been harping on Brad Keselowski about being too aggressive so much lately.

6 still have title hopes
After California , it looks like there are six drivers who still have realistic shot at the title: Kurt Busch at 122 back, Jeff Gordon at 105 back, Tony Stewart at 84 back, Montoya at 58 back, Martin at 12 back; and of course leader Jimmie Johnson. Stewart got incredibly lucky Sunday, because the caution came out just as he finished pitting and he avoided losing a ton more spots and a lot of points.

Terrible day for Richard Petty Motorsports
Talk about a bad day: All four of the Richard Petty Motorsports cars were involved in that massive wreck at the end of the California race. The RPM drivers went on to finish one after the other, 31st through 34th. The worst part: It was all started when one of the RPM drivers, Elliott Sadler, pushed Dale Jr. a little too hard.

I'm guessing the guys in the RPM shop are going to have a few hours of overtime this week.


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