For anyone who has ever claimed that things come too easy for Jimmie Johnson; or that his success is due to Chad Knaus; we have been telling you for years, how much of a competitive fire burns beneath that mild-mannered exterior.

Any doubts should have been erased at Chicagoland.  He made a nice save to keep the car running forward on the apron; then, when Kevin Harvick wouldn't give him an opening to get back on the racing surface, rather than backing off and looking for one, Johnson just moved on over. 

Bottom line, both drivers were doing what they had to do.  Harvick was keeping Johnson pinned down and, hopefully, forcing him to back off.  Johnson chose not to give up a ton of spots by doing that.

I can't help but wonder if all that would have happened under a different Chase format.  If the championship was decided by an accumulation of points over 10 races rather than three, maybe there would have been less of a sense of need and a little more give and take.

What I do know is that it's produced quite a subplot for the next two races.