As he has throughout the Chase, Clint Bowyer had a solid result in Sunday's NASCAR race at Texas Motor Speedway, finishing sixth.
However, despite finishing in the top 10 for the seventh time in eight Chase races, it still wasn't enough to keep Bowyer in the championship picture. The two drivers ahead of him in the standings – Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski – finished first and second, respectively.
"It's just unbelievable," Bowyer said. "You keep having these top-10 runs and flirting with the top five, week-in and week-out, and unless you're winning these races every week, you just can't gain points."
Bowyer's frustration stems from the fact that he is now all but eliminated from the title fight, even as he has been running up front on a weekly basis. With two weeks left in the season, the Michael Waltrip Racing driver is 36 points out of first.
To climb back into contention, he would need both Johnson and Keselowski to stumble dramatically – a long shot at best.
"Even if we were winning right now, it isn't enough to run them down for the championship," he said.
It did appear at one point, though, that fortune would smile on Bowyer.
With just a few laps left in the race, Johnson and Keselowski made contact with one another as the pair dueled for the lead. And if there had been an accident between the two, it would have resulted in an upheaval in the championship order.
Alas, it didn't occur and all Bowyer could do afterward was shake his head in disbelief and wonder, "What if?"
"I thought they were going to wreck each other, but they didn't," Bowyer said. "It would have been awesome. I really did think they were going to wreck each other."