Jimmie Johnson says if he maintains his current gap in the championship following this weekend's race at Talladega, he would feel in a very good position to win his fourth consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup series title.
The reigning champion currently leads Mark Martin by 118 points with only four races to go, heading into one of the wildcard races of the playoff series. Johnson feels comfortable with his advantage and believes he could even do with a bad weekend at Talladega.
More than trying to win the race, Johnson just hopes to be able to stay out of trouble and finish the race ahead of his main championship rivals, Martin and four-time champion Jeff Gordon.
"When I look at the points, we've never been in this strong of a position," Johnson said. "It does make me feel better about things, there still is just as much to lose but the deficit wouldn't be as bad if the worst situation happened for the 48."
"But I still look at it and know that anything can happen in those other three races, and I also know that I'm racing my teammates. The 5 [Martin] won at Phoenix and Jeff [Gordon] won at Texas, so I look at the races following and I don't want to lose points.
"I don't want to spot these guys any points. I don't want to have to chase them because there are great tracks coming up for the 5 and 24 as well. As soon as I find some comfort in the fact that we're 118 up right now, I think about the other three [races].
"I feel good about them, but I also know they're going to be good for my teammates. I'd love to leave here with at least 118 [lead]. That would be the goal. I'd love to have more, clearly. Man, we could really put ourselves in a good situation if we left here without losing any points."