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Jimmie Johnson's Chase Diary: Texas

By Jimmie Johnson

I think it is safe to say NASCAR now has what it wanted when it created the “Chase for the Championship” a few years ago. There are five of us within 84 points and just three races to go. It appears the championship won’t be decided until the final lap at Homestead and I think that was NASCAR’s intent from the beginning.

I’m glad we are one of the five. Second place at Atlanta on Sunday was a good finish for us. We struggled at the beginning of the race. We ran decent on track position, but I wasn’t a threat for the win. I ran with Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jeff Gordon and the Tony Stewart so I knew I was one of the better cars. We kept working on the car all day long. When the sun went down I think it helped me out a little bit and I became a little more competitive and was able to race with Tony and race him for the win. So it was a great night for us.

We are now 26 points behind Matt. I’m certainly optimistic. I feel great about it. But I’m sure every team feels that way though. I’m sure Dale Jr. feels he’s got a great shot. He’s close, mathematically. Matt is coming up to some good tracks. I think that everybody is in a good spot. I don’t think anybody is really worried about not performing. It’s just going to come down to luck and maybe who can outscore one another on the track.

I’m closer than I’ve ever been, number-wise, to the lead in the Chase. There is still a lot of racing left and the points are so close that you can’t afford to have a problem or anything. I’m looking forward to the tracks we have coming up. I think all three of them are good for us. We’ll just race hard and see what happens.

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