In the new era, it's win or go home

After a rough day Monday at Martinsville, Kevin Harvick is no longer the point leader. If you look at who the leader now is, I don't think anyone will be surprised to see it's our reigning champion Jimmie Johnson. He's won the most races so far this year, so it really shouldn't be a big surprise to anyone.

So now Jimmie, crew chief Chad Knaus and the rest of the No. 48 bunch will attempt to build from that. I personally am going to watch how they handle the next six races starting next weekend in Phoenix. In my book, if he could win three of those six, well it would really be hard by that point not to pick him to win the championship.

Now sure, winning a bunch of races gives you an advantage but it doesn't give you the trophy. If you don't believe me, go ask Kyle Busch what happened to him a couple years ago. You could also ask Carl Edwards. Those two won a ton of races and seemed to have it all going their way, but neither was able to parlay that into a championship.

In recent NASCAR history under the old point system, Matt Kenseth won his championship with only one win. In my book, those days are gone. It might get you in the Chase, but with the bonus points a driver can accumulate with the wins, that's where not winning will come back to bite you.

The bottom line in today's NASCAR is you have to be able to win races in the Chase. If you struggle to pull off wins during the regular season, it makes it hard for folks to believe you can pull it off in the Chase.

So the teams have this Easter weekend off and all next week before getting back on the road. I guarantee you there have been reviews by all the teams of what both the positive and negatives of the first six races were. Identifying the weak areas and making improvements in those areas will be the key. Having the break this weekend is like a bye week in the NFL. It gives the teams a chance to review, work on problem areas and gear up for a long stretch of racing.

It's going to be interesting to see what, for example, Richard Childress Racing does since they have had a great start to the 2010 season. What will Roush-Fenway Racing do to try to get better? None of these groups can let Jimmie and Hendrick Motorsports get on a roll.