As cliche as it sounds, what a difference a week makes.
Last Monday morning, Jimmie Johnson held a slim but steady seven-point lead with two races remaining. Now, thanks largely to a blown tire, and Brad Keselowski's ability to avoid catastrophe, he's staring at a formidable 20-point deficit as the Sprint Cup heads to South Beach.
Keselowski continued his impressive run, not backing down from tracks he's struggled at, posting a solid sixth place in Phoenix on Sunday. That finish, coupled with Johnson's difficulties, likely shaped this championship, but the race will long be remembered for the wreck, and subsequent fisticuffs shared by Jeff Gordon, Clint Bowyer and their respective crews. If you haven't seen the video of Bowyer sprinting through bodies, or the melee that ensued in pit row, do yourself a favor and check it out. It was straight out of a WWE pay-per-view, and for better or worse, provides this sport with the type of drama it's lacked recently.