Jim Williams: NASCAR season comes down to final race

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Sports,Jim Williams

The 2012 NASCAR season will come to an end this weekend in South Florida.

While the Camping World Truck and Nationwide series both will crown champions this weekend, the main focus is on the Sprint Cup championship. For the third time in the last four years, the title will be decided in the final race of the season.

This time, it's Brad Keselowski with a 20-point lead over five-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson.

This week I spoke to ESPN lead NASCAR broadcaster Allen Bestwick about Sunday's race and last week's big story, Jeff Gordon intentionally wrecking Clint Bowyer and causing their teams to get into a fight during the race in Phoenix.

Keselowski leads Johnson by 20 points. Is that enough to get him the title?

Bestwick » "The answer is this simple: Keselowski only has to finish in 15th place or better and he wins the Sprint Cup championship. Under that scenario, Johnson could even win the race and Brad would still be the Cup champ. All that said, it is tough to run a race where you know all you have to do is stay out of trouble. These guys are wired to race all out, and so it may seem simple for Brad to race for a top-15 finish, but one mistake and he can lose it all with a five-time champion in the hunt."

What would it mean for Keselowski to win the Cup championship on Sunday?

Bestwick » "It would be a great way for Dodge to go out as a winner. It would be Roger Penske's first NASCAR championship, and of course it would be great for Brad to get his first title. But a sixth Sprint Cup championship for Johnson would be huge as well."

What are your thoughts on Sunday's Gordon-Bowyer incident?

Bestwick »

"NASCAR drivers have always settled matters on the track. Last week was a bit different because when Gordon wrecked Bowyer he collected other cars and caused a bigger wreck than he expected. Then there was the two crews fighting in the garage, which is all bad. But as long as these disputes can be handled without crossing the line, driver-to-driver, I think NASCAR will let it go on."

Examiner columnist Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer. Follow him on Twitter @wordmandc.

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Jim Williams

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The Washington Examiner