The first race of the Sprint Cup Series Chase for the Championship is an exciting time for 12 drivers (13 this year). The points are reset, and the contenders all believe they can win the series title.
To earn the big trophy at the end of the year a lot of things must go right for a driver and their team throughout the entirety of the postseason. Solid finishes are critical, and minimizing mistakes are key to their ultimate success or failure.
While it is impossible to win the championship after the first race, one can do plenty of damage to their chances with a poor performance in the opener.
Since the start of the Chase Era in 2004, we have seen plenty of scenarios where a driver negatively impacts their championship hopes after just one race.
Whether because of an accident, a blown engine or just an ill-handling race car, very few things can frustrate and dishearten a championship-contending team more than struggling in the first race of Chase.
In the slides ahead, we will countdown the 10 worst performances by Chase-qualified drivers in the series' first race of the playoffs.