Jamie McMurray and Joey Logano expected far better results to start the 2011 NASCAR schedule, especially considering the momentum they had to finish 2010.
McMurray won three major races last year and barely missed the Chase, while Logano went on a remarkable run of top-10 finishes to conclude the season.
As a result, both were picked by many to make the Chase this season. But after four races, McMurray is 26th in points and Logano is 30th.
Neither driver found any improvement in their luck on Sunday at Bristol, where McMurray got a piece of both big wrecks and finished 21st, while Logano's broken wheel caused him to finish 23rd.
Along with 2010 Chase participant Jeff Burton, McMurray and Logano are in the worst position out of the main Chase contenders.
"It's really frustrating, because yesterday I thought we had the fastest car," said McMurray, who was hit by Brad Keselowski in the midst of the lap 29 multi-car wreck. "We ran really good here (last August), and it was the same kind of tire, and we just had unbelievable lap times (in practice).
"Gosh, we just can't buy a break. Everything bad is happening."
But McMurray, after looking over his damaged Earnhardt Ganassi Racing machine, said he's not overly frustrated because his team has run well in three of the four races (aside from Las Vegas).
Unfortunately, he just doesn't have the finishes to show for it: 18th at Daytona, 35th after a wreck at Phoenix and 27th in the aforementioned bad race at Vegas.
"I know we had a really good car (at Bristol)," he said. "Our cars have been really good, so I'm not that worried about it because I know we have fast cars."
Logano doesn't have reason to be quite as optimistic. He complained of motor issues in the early portion of the race, but the engine never expired and he was in position to salvage a top-10 finish until he suffered another setback with less than 50 laps to go.
"I thought I would have all the bad luck out of the way, but I guess not," he tweeted after the race. "A wheel broke on the last run."
Both McMurray and Logano are in a position similar to that of Burton, who bizarrely lost power on lap 29 and caused a big wreck behind him.
Burton rallied to finish 20th, but is still only 29th in the points.