Five things we learned at Chicagoland on Saturday
The victory pushed Martin from 13th to 11th in the standings. It also confirmed that he is clearly the driver to beat whenever the series stops at a flat track. After all, Martin has now won at Phoenix, Michigan and Chicago -- all flat tracks. This means he'll be the favorite to win at Kansas and Phoenix later this season in the Chase.
But will Martin make it in? He has a series-high four victories this season -- which is more wins, by the way, than Martin had driven to in 11 seasons -- but he's also had six finishes of 30th or worse. Most of these poor runs were due to bad luck and being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but because of them he's still in danger of missing the Chase. But most in the garage sense that Martin should be good for one or two more wins during the regular season, and that he'll glide into the Chase.
He should be fast on July 26th at Indy, the next race after a rare off-weekend. In his past four starts at the Brickyard, Martin hasn't finished lower than 11th. And remember: It's another flat track.
Is there an organization out there that can find speed over the next seven races to catch Hendrick before the Chase starts? Well, it certainly doesn't look like it right now, especially given that the Hendrick teams have a history of peaking just as the Chase starts.
This was the second time in recent weeks that Johnson and Busch have had issues with each other. The two bumped at Sonoma, and Busch blamed Johnson for ruining his day there as well. Busch is clearly peeved at Johnson, and Busch has a history of getting even with other drivers on the track. Will it come at Indy? Perhaps. Johnson would be wise to avoid being in the vicinity of Busch in the next few races.