The racing gods certainly have a bizarre sense of humor.
One year after Jimmie Johnson's unsuccessful quest for a "Six-Pack," the five-time champion finds himself once again entering Phoenix International Raceway - the penultimate track in the Chase for the Sprint Cup - carrying the momentum from a win in Texas and with a seven-point lead in the standings over second place.
The only difference? Last year Johnson was battling Brad Keselowski - a then-28-year-old, third-season Cup contender with nine career victories from a two-car team that had never won a title in NASCAR's top division.
This time he's facing Matt Kenseth. At 41, Kenseth's body of work over the past 14 seasons includes 31 wins - with a career-high seven this season - and a one-victory 2003 Cup title run that pundits credit as the catalyst for the creation of the Chase.
Johnson's crew chief Chad Knaus doesn't see a big difference in the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports' challenge this season. But Knaus acknowledged aft...