It simply was a dominant race, there was no other way to go about it.  This has occurred a few times this year, but when it matters most and a title is on the line, it is more important.

In 2010, this race nearly cost Jimmie Johnson the lead in the points.  It then eliminated him from the title hunt a year later.  Not this time, in true fashion, the 48 team and crew chief Chad Knaus came to play, not wanting to give up anything in their quest for a title.  The way they did that was simple:  get out front, lead the most laps, and win.

On this night, the mission was accomplished.

Johnson led over two-thirds of the race, and took the checkered flag.  It was his second win in the Chase, but also broke the tie for the lead with Matt Kenseth.  With two races remaining, the momentum is back in the control of the team that won five championships, and want to add a sixth.

Strangely, no writers picked him to win, some due to already using him earlier in the season, or by strategy.  But, seven writers did get top-10 finished, with only two outside the top-30, which cost them dearly in the end.

Here's where the field stands after the AAA Texas 500:

 

Sal Sigala Jr. (2323) Kasey Kahne finished 5th (2)

Rob Tiongson (2312) Kyle Busch finished 13th (3)

Dustin Parks (2308) Matt Kenseth finished 4th (1)

Rob Blount (2299) Kyle Busch finished 13th (3)

Ryan O'Hara (2299) Brad Keselowski finished 6th (1)

Kelly Crandall (2291) Brad Keselowski finished 6th (1)

Billy Fellin (2290) Kyle Busch finished 13th (3)

Patti Rodisch (2286) Kevin Harvick finished 8th (0)

Misan Akuya (2272) Jeff Gordon finished 38th (3)

James Broomhead (2256) Joey Logano finished 3rd (2)

Kara Martin (2246) Carl Edwards finished 37th (1)

Michael Hirshbein (2224) Matt Kenseth finished 4th (3)

 

Next Race:  The season is coming into the home stretch, or in this case nearing the exit of turn four, because now there's just two races remaining in the season.  In just two weeks, a new champion will be crowned.

NASCAR makes a trip farther west this week, to a track that may have grandstands, but some of the best seats are lined with gravel and cactus.  The "Jewel in the Desert" welcomes the next-to-last race in the Chase, as it's a return trip to the Phoenix International Speedway.

Writers, it is getting down to it, and soon the title will be decided.  Have your picks ready for the AdvoCare 500 by 10 p.m. ET on Thursday, November 7.