It’s official: The Chase is actually a chase this time.
In this corner stands Denny Hamlin, who could have gone to Homestead for the Sprint Cup season finale next week with a fat 60-point lead except he lost an argument with the math gods and had to pit for fuel while running second with just 14 laps to run at Phoenix today.
In this corner stands the four-time defending champion, Jimmie Johnson, who won his argument with the math gods, saved enough fuel and finished fifth.
So now there are just 15 points separating the two with one race to go, and it’s anybody’s Chase. And somewhere Brian Z. (for "Zow-ee!") France is turning cartwheels, because this is exactly what he needed to revive his flagging sport.
Now all he needs is for Hamlin to hang on. Because ifJ ohnson wins again, you’ll be able to HEAR the TV sets going silent. Or at least being switched to that riveting Bills-Bengals clash.