INSIDE TRACK; Jimmie Johnson's Sixth Championship Within Reach - WTRF 7 News Sports Weather - Wheeling Steubenville

INSIDE TRACK; Jimmie Johnson's Sixth Championship Within Reach

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Jimmie Johnson leads Matt Kenseth by 28 points in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings, going into Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Regardless of any other driver's finish, Johnson will clinch his sixth NASCAR Sprint Cup championship with a finish of 23rd or better at HMS; or 24th or better and at least one lap led; or 25th or better and the most laps led in Sunday's Ford EcoBoost 400.
Kevin Harvick, 34 points behind Johnson, remains the only other driver eligible for the 2013 championship.

This would be Johnson's sixth championship, one behind Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt.  If Kenseth can pull off the upset in Miami, this would be his second championship.

Johnson has won all his championships under the new "Chase" format, while Kenseth won the last championship before the new format.

One bad finish – 23rd at Phoenix –virtually erased Kenseth's role as championship favorite.

"I'm disappointed, obviously with the way our season has gone and kind of being in the championship hunt," said Kenseth, who had finished in the top seven in seven of eight Chase races and on the lead lap throughout the post season until Phoenix. "You hope to go down to Homestead and win it on performance. Hopefully we can go down there and contend for a win."

Harvick, likewise, can only mash the gas and hope. He's out-pointed Johnson by 35 points in only seven of the 433 races in which they've competed head-to-head, once in 2013 (Michigan in August) and never at Homestead.

Sunday's Ford EcoBoost 400 marks the Bakersfield veteran's 466th and final race in the No. 29 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet. Harvick moves to Stewart-Haas Racing next season.



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