NASCAR

Jimmie Johnson will get a Chance to get the Points Back at Charlotte

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jimmie Johnson (48) and wife Chandra Johnson during the National Anthem before the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway
Photo Credit Sam Sharpe-US PRESSWIRE

Last week NASCAR was at Talladega Superspeedway for the “Wild Card” race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.  The big wreck happened and caught up Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin and a slew of other Chase contenders extending Brad Keselowski’s lead in the standings to 14 points.  Jimmie Johnson will have a chance to get some or more of those points back because this week NASCAR is at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Bank of America 500.

Charlotte Motor Speedway is another one of those one and a half mile staples of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.  Sometimes these tracks are referred to as cookie cutter tracks but in reality everyone of them has some differences.  This track is one of those.  There is a large amount of banking in the turns of 24 degrees with only 5 degrees of banking in the straight-aways.  In reality though it is a D shaped oval and the drivers will be turning in the front stretch.  This track is one of the faster of the 1.5 mile tracks.  The race is 334 laps or 500 miles.

This track will require teams to have their cars handling good and running fast.  Like all of the large tracks a well placed caution can lead to the race becoming one on fuel millage and pit strategy.

Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers with six wins at this track followed by his teammates Jeff Gordon with 5, and Kasey Kahne with 4.  The history of the Hendrick Motorsports teams at Charlotte alone is impressive.  Jimmie Johnson is also the only driver to win four races in a row, sweeping the season in 2004 and 2005.

The Driver Ratings at Charlotte also reflect Jimmie Johnson’s dominance.  Jimmie leads all drivers with a rating of 111.  Relative to the ratings at other tracks a rating above 110 is huge.  Kyle Busch comes in second at 107.5 and the ratings fall significantly from there.  The Driver Ratings are below for reference.

What is more impressive is that Jimmie Johnson also leads all active drivers with an average finish of 11.8.  Kasey Kahne, the winner of this race in the spring, is second with an average finish of 12.7.

Brad Keselowski needs to improve his Charlotte stats during this race in order to retain the points lead.  Brad has a Driver Rating that is not even on the top 12 list of 76.8 and an average finish of only 16.5.  Denny Hamlin is a little better with a Driver Rating of 89.3 and an average finish of 15.  Statistically Jimmie Johnson should be able to gain back the nine points he lost in the big wreck at Talladega.  If Brad and Denny don’t do any better than their statistics suggest then Brad and Jimmie should be nearly tied when it is all over.

If Jimmie falters and Brad and Denny run as usual, Kasey Kahne might just be pulled right back into one of the top positions in the Chase. When this race is over the Chase for the Sprint Cup will be at the half way mark.

If you can’t get to Charlotte Motor Speedway, the race will be on ABC Saturday October 13th. at 7 PM ET.

Brian Berg Jr. is the Lead NASCAR writer for RantSports.com.

Follow him on Twitter @brian_jr1 during the race and throughout the week for more NASCAR news and commentary. On Facebook at NASCAR News and Commentary

Top 12 Driver Rating at Charlotte

Jimmie Johnson…………………… 111.0
Kyle Busch…………………………. 107.5
Kasey Kahne………………………… 97.5
Matt Kenseth………………………… 95.1
Greg Biffle……………………………. 92.3
Denny Hamlin……………………….. 89.3
Carl Edwards………………………… 88.4
Joey Logano………………………… 88.3
Jeff Gordon………………………….. 87.7
Mark Martin…………………………… 87.0
Jeff Burton…………………………… 84.4
Tony Stewart…………………………. 83.4

Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2012 races (15 total) among active drivers at Charlotte Motor Speedway.