Sunday’s race at Phoenix International Speedway looked to be an exciting race as the championship battle had come down to seven points. The championship battle was neck and neck all day until the unthinkable happen.
Once the green flag dropped Sunday Brad Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson ran within a few positions of each other the entire day. Keselowski had the better car and held the upper hand through out the day running all the way into the top five as Johnson worked himself into the top ten.
All things changed on lap 78.
On lap 78, Johnson was riding along in the top 10 until the right front tire blew in turn four and the car smacked the wall. The contact put Johnson behind the wall to repair damage and the whole Hendrick Motorsports organization went to work on repairs. Johnson eventually came back out on track with approximately 40 to go.
Brad Keselowski did not have an easy day either. With two to go Jeff Gordon intentionally wrecked Clint Bowyer in front of Keselowski. Keselowski was able to sneak past the scuffle. He also had to sneak through a wreck coming off the last corner of the race due to an oil spill from Danica Patrick. Keselowski did get contact from the No. 78 but was able to keep the car straight and finish sixth.
Johnson wrecking, period, is a rare sight but a wreck involving the 48 car in the Chase is hard to fathom. But it happen. Johnson now sits 21 points behind Keselowski in the point standings after finishing 32nd Sunday.
Johnson on his championship hopes, “Way out of our control.”
Keselowski needs to go into Homestead and think smart. All Brad needs to do is have a solid finish and Keselowski will get his first Sprint Cup championship.