Avondale, AZ (KAIT) - Batesville native Mark Martin entered the Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 trailing Jimmie Johnson by 73 points in the Sprint Cup standings.
Martin finished fourth but may have lost in the big picture. He didn't lead any laps, and his Hendrick teammate had a clutch performance.
Three time defending Sprint Cup champion Johnson led a race high 238 laps and took his seventh checkered flag of the season to add a cushion to his points lead. He now leads Martin by 108 points with one race to go in the season.
Johnson needs to finish 25th or better next week at Homestead to clinch a unprecedented four-peat.
Martin is the only driver with a mathematical shot at winning the title.
Coverage of the Ford 400 begins next Sunday at 1:30pm on KAIT.