|Credit: Beth Reinke / Skirts and Scuffs|
If Jimmie Johnson were a betting man, the driver on the top of his fantasy list to win NASCAR's Sprint Cup Chase would be Kevin Harvick, the driver of the No. 4. Of course, he isn't counting himself out, nor his Hendrick Motorsports teammates.
At a press conference held at Richmond International Raceway this morning, Johnson weighed his competition for winning his seventh championship and discussed the new Chase format, as well as the importance of all Hendrick teams in the Chase.
"I feel like the No. 4 (Harvick) just has raw speed everywhere we go. If it wasn't for bad luck that they'd had, I think they could have had eight wins maybe; maybe even north of eight wins. So, I still put the No. 4 as the lead guy right now," Johnson said.
But if you are about to hit the Vegas betting scene, don't count out his teammate Jeff Gordon. "At times, I would say the No. 24 has been rolling and has had momentum on his side."
And, of course there is Brad Keselowski, 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion who fell victim to a late-race wreck in Atlanta last week. Johnson is keeping "Kes" on his radar. "I can also say the No. 2 fits in there. I think those are the kind of favorites in my mindset right now. We'll just have to get in there and get racing and see how it goes," Johnson said.
Interestingly enough, according to the Vegas Insider, Gordon and Johnson are the 4/1 odds to win with Keselowski at 5/1, and Harvick at 6/1.
As the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup unfolds in Chicagoland, we'll find out if we should be calling Johnson, "Jimmy the Greek" or NASCAR's seven-time championship. Stay tuned.