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A Talladega twist of fate

Updated: October 30, 2009, 3:41 PM ET
By Ryan McGee
It may seem like Jimmie Johnson has the Cup locked up , but for all you chalk bettors out there who have called this race before it even begins, I'd like to pull your attention back seven years ago to the 2002 Talladega.

As he is this weekend, Jimmie Johnson cruised into Alabama as the points leader (he was still just an out-of-nowhere rookie phenom back then). Mark Martin, as he is this weekend, was second in points, a mere 11 points back, instead of the 118 he'll trail on Sunday. And as is also the case this weekend, the third- and fourth-place competitors were Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart, though in '02 it was Smoke in third, 36 points back, and Gordon in fourth, 109.

What took place that day -- in the span of about 30 seconds -- was one of the most oft-forgotten single-day swings in Cup Series title fight history.

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