We’re one race into the Round of 8 in the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup championship, with two more races left to go (Sunday at Texas, Nov. 13 at Phoenix) before the championship-deciding race at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 20.
Jimmie Johnson’s ninth career win Sunday at Martinsville propelled the driver of the No. 48 Chevrolet to the top spot in the standings.
It also locked Johnson into one of the four finalist spots in the championship-deciding season finale.
Then comes a three-driver Joe Gibbs Racing juggernaut, with teammates Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth tied for second, five points behind Johnson, while another JGR driver, Kyle Busch is in fourth, just seven points behind Johnson.
However, the news isn’t as good for the fourth JGR driver, Carl Edwards. He left Martinsville and will come into this Sunday’s 34th race of the season last in the Round of 8 standings, 32 points behind Johnson.