With only one race to go, the NASCAR chase standings are all but decided; Brad Keselowski will take home the Sprint Cup title.
Jimmie Johnson is just a little too far behind for the 48 to overtake the upstart Keselowski, who's set to win a points title in only his third year on the circuit.
Keselowski carries a 20-point lead into Sunday's race at Miami-Homestead Speedway, a huge lead to be made up in only one race on a reasonably calm 1.5 mile track.
Johnson my have won five out of the last six titles, but Keselowski has every advantage heading into Sunday, thanks to Johnson's struggles the week before at Phoenix after he blew a tire on Lap 235.
This cost Johnson the points lead and has him staring at huge 20-point deficit this week.
That 20 points likely means Keselowski will come away with his first Cup title on Sunday, his lead is too large.
Even if Johnson wins at Homestead and earns the maximum number of points, by leading the most laps, all Keselowski would have to do is finish 15th or better to stay atop the standings. Keselowski hasn't finished worse than 11th in any of the Chase races and has only come in 16th or worse once since Mid-June, so his chances are pretty good to walk away with the title.
All he has to do is run a clean race and he'll be raising the championship trophy at the end of the day. This means staying out of heavy traffic, not taking chances and running an efficient race.
Keselowski is one of the most talented drivers in NASCAR so doing these things shouldn't be much of an issue.
Plus, his rival Johnson will have a much tougher time. He'll be running an aggressive race just to stay near the front and is way more prone to wreaking than the No. 2 car on Sunday.
Johnson continues to maintain a positive attitude, repeating the phrase "this isn't over," but that's just the "never say die" attitude of a true champion.
— Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) November 13, 2012
But for all intents and purposes Keselowski has already won, he's just a 400-mile cruise from his crown.