NASCAR made what it called an unprecedented decision Friday afternoon, adding Jeff Gordon as the 13th participant in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, which begins on Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway.
NASCAR decided that a series of actions by Michael Waltrip Racing, Penske Racing and Front Row Motorsports unfairly denied Gordon a spot in the Chase and so after nearly a full day of meetings at the track, Gordon is now officially back in business.
Stripping aside all the emotion and all the controversy of NASCAR's decision, one fundamental question remains: Now that he's in the Chase, is Gordon a legitimate contender to finally win his fifth Sprint Cup championship and his first since 2001?
While anything is possible, certainly, both short- and longer-term history -- and more importantly, cold, hard numbers -- suggest Gordon's odds of a miracle ending to the season are very slim indeed.
This year's edition of the Chase is the 10th year for NASCAR's playoff format. In the first nine edi...