In a surprising revelation on Wednesday, NASCAR's official statistician announced that Brian Vickers and Greg Biffle were eliminated from Chase contention for being "too far back." Vickers, Biffle and a handful of competitive cup drivers are more than 40 points off the lead, which under the new system, means there is no way for them to win the championship.
Joining Biffle and Vickers in the back of the field are drivers like Jeff Burton, Jamie McMurray, David Reutimann and Joey Logano. “Our team debated just packing it in when the season was written off,” confessed four-time Chase driver Biffle. “We're just going to go out there and go through the motions even though we've been mathematically eliminated.”
Dale Jr.: “I Know How it Feels”
"Now they know how I've felt for years," sighed a forlorn Dale Earnhardt Jr. whose currently listed "on the bubble" in 17th place. Under the new point system, drivers who are not in the top 15 after two races are basically just eye candy, driving around in circles for show.
"Sure there are 24 more races left until the chase and thirty-four races left before the end of the season, but I don't see any of these drivers making it." NASCAR Statistician Gil Engilburton said. "The chances of someone making up 40 points seems pretty impossible.” NASCAR's Engilbnurton reminded reporters that Jimmie Johnson started the 2009 season in 19th place after two races, “And we all remember what a horrible season he had.”
It's Trevor Bayne's to Lose
Surprisingly, the Chase for the Cup this season has been whittled down to a two-horse race. “Based on the first two races, Jeff Gordon and Trevor Bayne will take turns winning every race,” predicted Darrell Waltrip. “While it's too early to say definitively, it looks like the championship is rookie Trevor Bayne's to lose even though he isn't eligible for the Sprint Cup.” Some argue that Jeff Gordon will be able to capture his fifth championship, but Waltrip was quick to point out that he waited until the second race of the year to win, allowing Bayne to leap out to an early lead.
Kyle Busch Championship Impossible
Experts counter that several drivers are likely to content for the title. Former champions Kurt Busch, Tony Stewart, Gordon and Bobby Labonte are all in the top 10 while returning champ Jimmie Johnson lurks twenty one points off the lead. Current leader Kyle Busch has also looked fast this year, having already toasted Victory Lane twice in the Truck and Nationwide Series. NASCAR's Gil Engilburton finds that unlikely. “In order to beat Gordon or Bayne, these other drivers would have to finish higher, which is impossible based on the results from the first two races," explained Engilburton. "I do think Kyle is a lock for the title of best Busch brother and best NASCAR televised wedding.”
For these drivers there is always next year, assuming that they win the Daytona 500 and then run the table the rest of the season like Jamie McMurray did in 2010 (based solely on his performance in the Daytona 500).