If this year's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship were the World Series or an NBA playoff, Carl Edwards would be down 3-1.
Although "Cousin Carl" has taken a bite out of Jimmie Johnson's point lead the last two weeks and comes into Sunday's second-to-last race of the season at Phoenix International Raceway, the odds are still long that Johnson will be caught.
All the two-time champ has to do Sunday is gain 77 points on Edwards and he can just show up at next week's season-finale at Homestead and walk away with his third straight title.
Edwards, to his credit, has not gone down without a fight and is in the middle of trying to win a pair of championships this season. His Nationwide Series win Saturday cut Clint Bowyer's lead to 56 and afterward, Edwards insisted he'd win not one but two trophies this year.
Phoenix has been Johnson's playground the last two years and he'll shoot for his third straight Cup win on Sunday. Edwards, who finished fourth in the April PIR visit has always liked the track and has had success throughout his career at the flat one mile speedway, showing prowess in the early days of his career behind the wheel of a USAC Silver Crown car.
But unless Johnson slips up for a third straight week, even a third straight series win for Edwards won't be enough. However as we've seen in Atlanta and Texas, the 48 team isn't completely bullet proof.
Watch for Denny Hamlin, who led Saturday's final "Happy Hour" practice session and Mark Martin, driving the DEI No. 8 Chevrolet that Dale Earhnhardt, Jr. drove to two Cup victories at PIR, to challenge for the win on Sunday.
But they'll have to beat Johnson in order to visit victory lane.