With a 54-point deficit and only three races to make it up, it looks like Jeff Gordon's chances of winning a fifth Sprint Cup championship are gone. But Gordon once again showed that he's still one of the best drivers in NASCAR.
Gordon qualified for the Chase this season in one of two wild-card spots by having the most wins outside the 10 drivers who automatically qualified for the Chase.
None of Gordon's four titles have come during the Chase era, and he knows the playoff format requires constant adjustment.
Q: Is it difficult to adjust to the almost yearly changes and tweaks to the Chase?
A: The format itself is a challenge. I've been in the sport a long time, back to when the sport was completely different, and the champion was decided by the season-long points race. I see pros and cons to both systems. I really like what they've done with the wild card, and I especially liked it since we were able to take advantage of it this year.
But overall, I like the challenge of the playoff system. It pretty much guarantees that the season will come down to the final two or three races, and that's something the sport needs. If you go back, you realize the old system could be pretty anticlimactic at the end.
With the Chase, what we've seen over the years is that whoever comes out on top is gonna have one bad race. That 10 weeks is a lot of racing. A lot can go right and a lot can go wrong, so you can't count yourself out.
Texas Motor Speedway schedule of events
9 a.m.: Gate 6 opens
10 a.m.: All gates open; No Limits Carnival opens
12:20 p.m.: Pre-race show featuring Eli Young Band
2 p.m.: Sprint Cup AAA Texas 500 (TV: ESPN, Cox 29)