The top six drivers in the standings right now have been the most consistent drivers of the 2010 season. All of them but Jeff Gordon have at least one win. Gordon proving that his consistency can pay off right now; but will it win him a championship?
Could Gordon go the entire season without a win and still win a title is an interesting question to be asked. It won’t be the first time this topic has come up with the current Chase settings. In fact every season as the Chase looms we ask, is it possible?
In NASCAR storied history no driver has ever won the title without winning at least one race. The only drivers who did were Bill Rexford (1950) Ned Jarrett (1961) Benny Parsons (1973) and Kenseth (2003).
Gordon’s teammate, Jimmie Johnson, has proven that winning races wins you titles. His four straight titles have come when he won early, often and late in the season.
But current championship points leader Kevin Harvick said on Tuesday, “Unless somebody has changed the points system, winning races is good but you have to be consistent as well.''
Harvick has one win so far this season at Talladega Super Speedway in April. He leads the series though with 12 top 10 finishes
It would make sense to be honest with the current point structure that you need the bonus points when they reset the points. Right now if the Chase started today, Gordon would reset sixth in standings at least 50 points off the lead.
50 points is not a huge swing early in the Chase, if three of the five drivers in front of him finish outside the top 10 in the either of the first two races Gordon could make up that ground. That is only if Gordon finishes top 10 or top five.
The problem is if one of the other two wins the race then he has really made up little ground on the leader.We have seen it every season since the Chase inception that there is always a driver or two that struggles early in the Chase and takes themselves out early.
This season we could see the most drivers without a win make the Chase then ever before.
In the 1990’s you could win a title and not win races, because there was no points set up. Today it is very difficult to do this but I don’t think it is impossible.
The problem that guys like Gordon, Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart could face if they don’t win at least one race if not more is beating Johnson. Johnson has proven to be untouchable when the Chase begins and he rarely runs into problems.
Its hard to say if anyone other than Gordon or possibly Stewart if they go into the Chase without a win, could be a contender.
The other side of the coin is you can’t make a mistake yourself. You have to run every race near perfect, without getting a win.
Every one of these drivers are hungry for wins and they don’t go out there to finish second but there can only be one winner.
History could be made come November at Homestead Motor Speedway. Could we crown the first champion ever to win the title, but not a race?
If we have learned anything the last few years in NASCAR, anything is possible.