Last year at this time Jeff Gordon was 59 points out of tenth place for the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup after a 21st place finish at Watkins Glen International. This year Jeff is only 15 points out of tenth place after an even more dismal 36th place finish. Last year he rallied and gained 26 points on tenth place and finished in 12th. He would have still missed the Chase for the Sprint Cup but he had previously won a race and his rally just moved him into Wild Card contention.
This year his points are not insurmountable but since he doesn’t have a win his position might actually be dire. With Ryan Newman (one win), Kasey Kahne (two wins) in the battle, Gordon has to work his way into the top ten or win.
While he is working his way into the top ten, so is Kurt Busch who also doesn’t have a win. If Kurt gets there before he does odds are good he will knock yet another driver, Martin Truex Jr. or Greg Biffle who also have race wins down into the Wild Card position. Jeff Gordon’s only way into the Chase at this point is to win a race while working his way up toward the top ten.
Last year at this time, Jeff Gordon already had that one win and it took until the last race at Richmond International for Jeff to move up in the standings to 12th and get himself that Wild Card spot. This year he can battle all he wants to 11th or 12th but without that win he would be out. That is why this year may actually be more insurmountable than last year.
Gordon said, “It’s going to be a battle all the way through the checkered flag at Richmond. A win would certainly help our chances, but I don’t think it’s necessary. I think a string of top-five’s and top-10’s could get us a top-10 spot in the standings.”
Jeff doesn’t agree with me and I hope he is right but there are too many drivers with wins in the mix.