It's Practice Time for Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus

By Brian Berg Jr.
Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

The NASCAR regular season is half over. Jimmie Johnson and his crew chief Chad Knaus have the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevy leading the Sprint Cup standings by 30 points over Carl Edwards. Jimmie and Chad have everyone else right where they want them.

To review the Sprint Cup points system, in any race a driver gets points based on the position he finishes at the end of the race. If Jimmie Johnson was to lead the most laps and win the race the most points he can get is 43, plus one for leading a lap, plus one for leading the most laps, plus three points for the win, a maximum of 48 points.

The reverse happens if he should happen to finish the race last. If that should happen to Jimmie then he would get one point. If a driver happens to get the most possible points for a win then he would give up 47 points.

The odds that Jimmie Johnson would not only have that bad of a race and finish dead last given the number of start and park teams is very low. The odds for Jimmie are that on a bad day he may give up 40 points. Including the odds of the second place driver having a near perfect points day and winning the race at the same time, the worst Jimmie may do is 30 points in one race.

Jimmie Johnson has two wins and is 119 points from twelfth place. He has almost four full races to give before he is in trouble of not making the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

We’ve got a huge points lead and things kind of — we’ve had the wins and there have been tracks that we’ve been really hot at.” Johnson said, “But I feel like our mile-and-a-half stuff we’ve been really a top 5 car.  Our short track stuff and Super Speedway stuff we’ve been a winning car.  With the mile and a half occupying so much of the year and especially the chase, we have a little bit of room for improvement there.  I do feel very good about our cars and don’t want to undermine that. But the points lead is huge, and I’d love to keep it that way and roll on into Richmond or the races before Richmond with that kind of points lead so we can lock in.

The bottom line is Jimmie and Chad have a whole lot of breathing room in order to try things and get even better before the Chase for the Sprint Cup. The next 13 races can be test sessions for the No. 48 team. Unless some disaster strikes, Jimmie Johnson will be the next six time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion at the end of the season.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for

Follow him on Twitter @brian_jr1 during the race and throughout the week for more NASCAR news and commentary, or on Facebook, Pinterest, and Google.


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