As we count down to the 2013 Daytona 500, we're also counting down how we think the Chase will play out this season as predicted by Nick Bromberg, Jay Busbee, Jay Hart and Geoffrey Miller. So sit back, relax, and watch the 2013 Chase unfold before your very eyes. Though you should be warned, we picked Carl Edwards to win last year.
2012 Finish: 10th. Two wins (Pocono and Homestead)
Crew Chief: Alan Gustafson
When we last saw Gordon: He went to victory lane in the final race of the season and the race that turned out to be the swan song for Gordon's career-long partnership with sponsor DuPont. Before that, he was crashing Clint Bowyer in retaliation for contact the two made while racing together at Phoenix. And we don't need to explain that one again, do we?
Big Question for 2013: It's the question that's been omnipresent for the past five or six years, maybe even longer. Will Jeff Gordon win a fifth title? He had plenty of speed to put together a championship season in 2012, it's just that lady luck wasn't on his side. And as any driver can attest, you have to catch some breaks in addition to being fast to win a championship.
Track most likely to win at: Martinsville, provided that David Reutimann doesn't bring out a late race caution as Gordon is racing side-by-side with Jimmie Johnson for the race lead and on the ensuing restart, Clint Bowyer and Ryan Newman don't line up behind him.
Track most likely to require a miracle to win at: Well, Gordon has won at every Cup Series track except Kentucky (two starts) and his worst performing track statistically is Talladega, where he's won six times. So we'll roll with Texas, where he's only won once and his average finish is only marginally better.
How Gordon could win the Chase: The speed that Gordon showed last season was an obvious indication that Gordon still has the ability and the equipment to compete for a title. And if you're a believer that breaks tend to balance themselves out over time, given that speed, a reversal of fortunes in 2013 may turn out to be all that Gordon needs.
How Gordon couldn't: Maybe that luck isn't fluky after all. Hard to fathom, given the nature of many of the things that felled Gordon's chances in numerous races last year, but it's not totally out of the question.
Oh no, where is Clint?
Is he on the boat with me?
I better go hide
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