The exception may be Jeff Gordon.
Gordon finished second during Sunday’s race at Talladega. The problem is Gordon is having to dig himself out of a huge hole created during the Chase opening race at Chicagoland. Finishing second moved Gordon to 42 points behind points leader Brad Keselowski.
On Sunday his second place finish coupled with Keselowski’s finish of seventh allowed the four time champion to gain six points.
Following Chicagoland Gordon was 47 points out of the Chase lead. He is now 42 points behind. In three races Gordon has made up a stunning 5 points on the Chase leader. During that time Gordon has finished third and second twice. Again, Gordon made up a staggering 5 points. Imagine the deficit had Gordon been involved in the big one.
Gordon’s run and the difficulty he has experienced as he Chases after a points leader showcases the thought that a driver can lose a Championship in one race. At Chicagoland Gordon finished 35th. The stat that has seemed to seal Gordon’s fate.
Over the course of eight seasons of the Chase these eventual championship winners combined for just five finishes outside the top-twenty five. Only three of those finishes were worse then the thirty-fifth place finish of Gordon at Chicagoland.
As well as Gordon runs so do others. Others that include Keselowski, Denny Hamlin and five time champion Jimmie Johnson. When Gordon finished third at Loudon, Hamlin won and Johnson was second. When Gordon finished second at Dover, Keselowski won.
Gordon just cannot make up any ground. There is no track on the circuit that fans have not seen Jeff Gordon perform well at. The problem for Gordon is those above him also are performing well.
While Gordon is mathematically in the Chase he will make up the necessary ground without at least one unfortunate afternoon happening to those above him.