The Washington Times - November 5, 2008, 07:32AM

Even when he’s bad, he good. The 48 struggled all day at Texas with a car that just wouldn’t drive and still Jimmie Johnson managed a 15th place finish keeping a 106 point lead over Carl Edwards. But he wasn’t happy, “it felt like getting kicked in the […], it sucked,” Jimmie said afterwards. At one point the lead was under 80 points but Johnson kept digging to pick up 25 to 30 points – that could be the difference in the championship. And there was the 99 car on a mission all day. Roush-Fenway cars have historically been good at Texas and Edwards was running for the cowboy hat and for a shot at the title. Edwards did it with a smart four tire call late in the race and a monster gamble on fuel. “We’ve got nothing to lose,” Edwards said in the media center after the race. “We can go out and take chances and race the way we want.” So, what’s this mean? It means the Chase continues in Phoenix next weekend. Johnson needs to leave Phoenix with a 196-point lead over second-place to officially clinch his third consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. In other words, Johnson must beat Edwards by 90 points and third-place Greg Biffle by 52 at Phoenix to clinch (Johnson needs to finish 195 points ahead of Biffle to clinch because Johnson owns the tie-breaker). Jeff Burton, 212 points back in fourth place, can also spoil Johnson’s clinch hopes by getting to within that 195-point “magic number.” If Johnson leaves Phoenix with a 162-point lead, he would need only to start the season-finale at Homestead to clinch a championship. Under this scenario, Johnson has to beat Edwards by 56 and Biffle by 18. If Johnson finishes seventh or better in the next two races, he will clinch the title, no matter what any other driver does. Edwards matches up well with Johnson at the remaining two tracks (Phoenix and Homestead). Over the next two tracks, Edwards has an average finish of 12.3 and a Driver Rating of 104.5. Johnson has an average finish of 9.1 and a Driver Rating of 108.1.