Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 Review – Jimmie Johnson Wins!

Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 Review
by Virginia Vroom of

Another victory down, one more to go for golden boy Jimmie Johnson. Johnson took to checkers in an easy victory last week at Phoenix and looks to do the same this weekend in the season closer at Homestead. For Jimmie, he basically needs to wreck with a DNF on the first lap to lose the championship at this point. You may as well hand it to him. I guess it’s always possible, though, for something to not go his way, right?

Phoenix was a great win for Johnson. It helped him out after a disappointing finish at Texas and definitely boosted him to an almost unreachable level when it comes to winning the championship. For guys like Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin, Johnson’s teammates, it’s a challenging road trying to find out a formula to beat Johnson and his team. They are so close, yet so far from stopping Johnson in his quest for a 4-peat and to create NASCAR history.

With a minimal four cautions, Johnson sailed to victory and upped his points lead to 108 over second-place challenger Mark Martin, making it darn near impossible to lose. At Phoenix, Johnson didn’t run into a lot of rough racing. Two of the four cautions were caused by debris, with the remaining two cautions being caused by jumbled up cars on the restarts.


Mark Martin definitely ran hard, though. There is no denying that; however, he admitted that his car just wasn’t the caliber of Johnson’s. It’s sad to see the discouragement on Martin’s face. There’s no one who wants a championship so badly, and it plays out the same for Martin every time, where he is just always a few points shy, sitting back in second place.

A few other notables from the race were Denny Hamlin, who was having a strong run, but, like Martin, just couldn’t get up to Johnson’s bumper for a pass. Jeff Burton had a great day, finishing with a much needed second. Martin Truex Jr., although moving to MWR next year, helped EGR by bringing home a top 5 finish.

Here are your top 10 finishers from Phoenix:

1. Jimmie Johnson
2. Jeff Burton
3. Denny Hamlin
4. Mark Martin
5. Martin Truex Jr.
6. Kurt Busch
7. Clint Bowyer
8. Juan Bowyer
9. Jeff Gordon
10. David Reutimann

As you can see, Jeff Gordon just can’t seem to close that gap. Consistency is the name of the game in winning this championship. With Jimmie always running in front of Gordon and Martin, there’s logically no way they will win the championship. There’s something that Johnson’s team has that the rest do not. It’s probably Knaus.

Heading into the last race of the season, we have Johnson leading Martin by 108 points. Here are your top 12 in the points as of Phoenix:

1. Jimmie Johnson
2. Mark Martin
3. Jeff Gordon
4. Kurt Busch
5. Tony Stewart
6. Juan Montoya
7. Greg Biffle
8. Denny Hamlin
9. Ryan Newman
10. Kasey Kahne
11. Carl Edwards
12. Brian Vickers

As the season closes, we are heading to Homestead for the crowning of the champion. Will Jimmie make another easy win and walk away with NASCAR history or will one of his teammates manage to debunk the king somehow and throw a huge upset into the mix? Stay tuned this weekend for Sunday’s final race of the season at Homestead!