The NASCAR Sprint Cup title is the focus of these writings as we approach the crowning of a champion.  As a result, the victory by Matt Kenseth at Kansas Speedway is an outlying point of emphasis because he has no chance to win the title.  Four races remain and the attrition was almost as heavy on this Sunday as it was when Dale Earnhardt Jr. was still driving.  Junior will most likely be back next week at Martinsville by the way, but the top two in points are still separated by seven.

The pressure is mounting and Jimmie Johnson is lurking.  Haters of the 48 cannot sleep well at all.  A lusty cheer was loosed when the sight of Johnson's machine crumpled against the wall was nationally broadcast to the audience.  The anticipated next stop for that hot mess was the garage until the crew earned its stripes.  We've seen this before.  A road apple that turns into cotton candy.  After the close encounter with the wall there were doubts about the aerodynamics, the fueling process and even the ability to see out the back window with all the 200mph tape applied to that thing.  Johnson should have won that race with a pristine chariot, but with a jalopy he took ninth.

So instead of "Bye-bye 5-time," choose your colorful term to paint Jimmie back into the championship portrait.  As the circuit heads to Martinsville next, nothing is guaranteed, because Brad Keselowski can run well there and has won at short tracks before.  However, the Lowe's crew can bring it at the paper clip.  Johnson has six grandfather clocks and would love to make it seven plus the points lead.  Next week the Blue Deuce will try to buy time before Cinderella's midnight chimes.

DP