Distributed by The Sports Xchange

For the first time in a decade, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has won more than one race in a season.

In the afterglow of Sunday's victory at Pocono Raceway, is it too much of a stretch to suggest Earnhardt might also win his long-awaited first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship?

Yes, we all know that, in a quirk of the statistical model of last year's performances superimposed over this year's championship system, Earnhardt would have won the title without winning a race.

But that's not reality, because the way every race team approaches the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup this year will be quantitatively and qualitatively different from anything that has been done in the past.

So is it realistic to project Earnhardt as a possible champion?

Of course.

The Chase is now a game of survive and advance. To move from Round 1 to Round 2, simply stay out of the bottom four. To advance to Round 3, either win a race at Kansas, Charlotte or Talladega -- all realistic possibilities for Earnhardt -- or perform with the sort of consistency "Driver 88" has exhibited this season.

That's right, even with the aberrant last-place finish at Texas, Earnhardt's average finish this season is 11.1, on pace for a career- best in that category.

It's not ridiculous to think Earnhardt might win one of the Round 4 races, at Martinsville, Texas or Phoenix. That puts him in the finale at Homestead for the big prize.

So don't dismiss Earnhardt's chances. He just might surprise you.

NASCAR NUMBER

2: The number of NASCAR Sprint Cup races Dale Earnhardt Jr. has won this year, significant because it's the first time since his watershed six-victory 2004 season that Earnhardt has been to Victory Lane more than once in the same year.

3: The finishing position of Kurt Busch in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Pocono Raceway, breaking a string of seven straight results of 18th or worse and solidifying his position in the top 30 in the series standings -- where Busch will need to be after 26 races to be eligible for the Chase.

95: The number of laps led by Brad Keselowski on Sunday at Pocono. Keselowski had the dominant car, but a hot dog wrapper struck to his grille elevated his engine temperatures and perhaps cost the driver of the No. 2 Team Penske Ford his second victory of the season.

0: The number victories recorded by Jimmie Johnson at Michigan International Speedway, the next stop on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule. Michigan is one of five active tracks where Johnson hasn't yet posted a win. The others? Chicagoland, Homestead, Kentucky and Watkins Glen.

593: The number of laps led by Greg Biffle in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Michigan. Only at Texas and Darlington has Biffle led more laps (733 and 718, respectively). The driver of the No. 16 Ford, winless so far this year, has been to Victory Lane twice in the last three races and four times overall at the two-mile track.

NASCAR NOTES

For the record, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has never won consecutive races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. He once won three straight, during the 1999 NASCAR Nationwide Series season. ... Roush Industries' headquarters are located near Michigan International Speedway, in Livonia, Mich. So, it's fitting that Roush Fenway Racing has more wins at MIS (13) than any other team in NASCAR history -- and four of those wins have come from Greg Biffle. Biffle, who has won two of the last three races at Michigan, enters this weekend winless. A win at Michigan, his most prolific track, would virtually lock Biffle into the 2014 Chase. ... Are we sure this guy's a rookie? Kyle Larson, who tops the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings, scored his third top five of the season, this time at Pocono. That matches the top five totals of Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch and Carl Edwards, three of the sport's top talents. Tenth in points, Larson would earn a Chase spot if the playoffs began today -- but it doesn't. So, he now heads to Michigan to pad his dynamic rookie resume. It'll be his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start at Michigan, but he scored a runner-up finish to Regan Smith there in last year's NASCAR Nationwide Series race event.

@nascarcasm

--Brad Keselowski probably feels like he threw one away. And as result of that debris he would like to remind fans at Pocono to PLEASE throw things away also.

--Overheard frequently at the driver's meeting: "Yes, we can go meeting Channing Tatum, honey" followed by "Wait -- why aren't you wearing your wedding ring?"

--Pocono Raceway's slogan: "What turn 4?" Kurt Busch's Pocono slogan: "What gear 4?"

--Matt Kenseth suffered severe damage to his grill after contact with the back of Jamie McMurray's car. And if you thought that damage was rough, look at your hand after trying to muss Jamie's hair.

(Follow @nascarcasm on Twitter. His unique views on NASCAR are his own -- but chances are you have figured that out by now.)

Tune-In: NASCAR On Television, June 9-15

Monday, June 9

7:30 p.m., Empty Cup: Quest for the 1992 NASCAR Championship (re-air), FOX Sports 2

8 p.m., The 600: History of NASCAR's Toughest Race (re-air), FOX Sports 2

11:30 p.m., Kurt Busch 36, NBC Sports Network

12:30 a.m. (Tues), NASCAR America (re-air), NBC Sports Network

2 a.m. (Tues.), NASCAR Now, ESPN2

Tuesday, June 10

5 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1

5 p.m., NASCAR America, NBC Sports Network

6:30 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub (re-air), FOX Sports 2

2:30 a.m. (Wed.), NASCAR Now, ESPN2

Wednesday, June 11

7 a.m., NASCAR's The List: Greatest Finishes (re-air), NBC Sports Network

7:30 a.m., NASCAR's The List: Legendary Drivers (re-air), NBC Sports Network

8 a.m., NASCAR's The List (re-air), Memorable Moments, NBC Sports Network

8:30 a.m., NASCAR's The List (re-air), Fights & Feuds NBC Sports Network

10 a.m., NASCAR Race Hub Special (re-air), FOX Sports 1

11 a.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race at Texas (re-air), FOX Sports 1

5 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1

5 p.m., NASCAR America, NBC Sports Network

6:30 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub (re-air), FOX Sports 2

7:30 p.m., Empty Cup: Quest for the 1992 NASCAR Championship (re-air), FOX Sports 2

11:30 p.m. NASCAR America (re-air), NBC Sports Network

12:30 a.m. (Thurs), NASCAR's The List: Greatest Finishes (re-air), NBC Sports Network

1 a.m. (Thurs), NASCAR's The List: Legendary Drivers (re-air), NBC Sports Network

1:30 a.m. (Thurs.), NASCAR's The List: Memorable Moments (re-air), NBC Sports Network

2 a.m. (Thurs.), Kurt Busch 36 (re-air), NBC Sports Network

2:30 a.m. (Thurs), NASCAR's The List: Fights & Feuds (re-air), NBC Sports Network

Thursday, June 12

5 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1

5 p.m., NASCAR America, NBC Sports Network

6:30 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub (re-air), FOX Sports 2

7 p.m., Kurt Busch 36 (re-air), NBC Sports Network

7:30 p.m., FOX Sports 1 on 1: Jimmie Johnson (re-air), FOX Sports 2

8 p.m., The 600: History of NASCAR's Toughest Race (re-air), FOX Sports 2

10 p.m., Kurt Busch 36 (re-air), NBC Sports Network

1 a.m. (Fri.), NASCAR's The List (re-air), Memorable Moments, NBC Sports Network

1:30 a.m. (Fri.), NASCAR's The List (re-air), Fights and Feuds, NBC Sports Network

Friday, June 13

10 a.m., NASCAR K&N Pro Series Race from Bowman-Gray (re-air), FOX Sports 1

11 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Practice, FOX Sports 1

12:30 p.m., NASCAR Nationwide Practice, FOX Sports 1

1:30 p.m., NASCAR Live, FOX Sports 1

2 p.m., NASCAR Nationwide Final Practice, FOX Sports 1

3:30 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, FOX Sports 1

7 p.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Practice, FOX Sports 1

9 p.m., 100,000 Cameras: NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race (re-air), FOX Sports 1

2:30 a.m. (Sat.), NASCAR's The List, Greatest Finishes, NBC Sports Network

3 a.m. (Sat.), NASCAR Sprint Cup Practice (re-air), FOX Sports 1

4:30 a.m. (Sat.), NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying (re-air), FOX Sports 1

Saturday, June 14

8 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying (re-air), FOX Sports 2

8:30 a.m., 24 Hours of Le Mans, FOX Sports 1

9:30 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Practice, FOX Sports 2

10:30 a.m., 100,000 Cameras: NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race (re-air), FOX Sports 2

10:30 a.m., NASCAR Nationwide Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, ESPN2

12:30 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Final Practice, FOX Sports 2

1:30 p.m., NNS Countdown, ESPN

2 p.m., NASCAR Nationwide Series Race at Michigan, ESPN

4 p.m., 24 Hours of Le Mans, FOX Sports 2

5 p.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Keystone Light Pole Qualifying, FOX Sports 2

6:30 p.m., 24 Hours of Le Mans, FOX Sports 2

6 p.m., Kurt Busch 36 (re-air), NBC Sports Network

7 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Final Practice (re-air), FOX Sports 1

8 p.m., NCWTS SetUp, FOX Sports 1

8:30 p.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race at Gateway, FOX Sports 1

11 p.m., Kurt Busch 36 (re-air), NBC Sports Network

2 a.m. (Sun.), 24 Hours of Le Mans, FOX Sports 2

Sunday, June 15

6 a.m., NASCAR Nationwide Series Race at Michigan (re-air), ESPN2

7:30 a.m., 24 Hours of Le Mans, FOX Sports 2

9 a.m., Empty Cup: Quest for the 1992 NASCAR Championship (re-air), FOX Sports 1

9:30 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, FOX Sports 1

11 a.m., NASCAR RaceDay, FOX Sports 1

Noon, NSCS Countdown to Green, TNT

1 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race at Michigan, TNT

5:30 p.m., NASCAR's The List (re-air), Memorable Moments, NBC Sports Network

6 p.m., NASCAR's The List (re-air), Fights and Feuds, NBC Sports Network

6:30 p.m., Kurt Busch 36 (re-air), NBC Sports Network

7 p.m., NASCAR Victory Lane, FOX Sports 1

10:30 p.m., Kurt Busch 36 (re-air), NBC Sports Network

3 a.m. (Mon.), NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race at Gateway, FOX Sports 1

This Week

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES

The Next Race:

Quicken Loans 400

The Place:

Michigan International Speedway

The Date/Time:

Sunday, June 15, 1 p.m. (ET)

TV: TNT

Radio: MRN,

Sirius XM Channel 90

NASCAR NATIONWIDE SERIES

The Next Race:

Ollie's Bargain Outlet 250

The Place:

Michigan International Speedway

The Date/Time:

Saturday, June 14, 2 p.m. (ET)

TV: ESPN

Radio: MRN,

Sirius XM Channel 90

NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES

The Next Race:

Drivin' For Linemen 200

The Place:

Gateway Motorsports Park

Date/Time:

Saturday, June 14, 8:30 p.m. (ET)

TV: FOX Sports 1

Radio: MRN,

Sirius XM Channel 90

NASCAR National Series Standings

This year, wins matter more than in any season in the 65-year history of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Essentially, a win locks a driver into the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

2014 Winners

Pos Driver Wins

1. Kevin Harvick 2

2. Joey Logano 2

3. Jimmie Johnson 2

4. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2

5. Brad Keselowski 1

6. Carl Edwards 1

7. Kyle Busch 1

8. Kurt Busch 1

9 Denny Hamlin 1

10. Jeff Gordon 1

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

Pos Driver Points

1 Jeff Gordon 498

2 Matt Kenseth 482

3 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 476

4 Jimmie Johnson 475

5 Brad Keselowski 448

6 Kyle Busch 443

7 Carl Edwards 441

8 Denny Hamlin 420

9 Joey Logano 418

10 Kyle Larson # 417

11 Ryan Newman 411

12 Kevin Harvick 403

13 Brian Vickers 392

14 Greg Biffle 385

15 Austin Dillon # 385

16 Clint Bowyer 383

NASCAR Nationwide Series

Pos Driver Points

1 Regan Smith 448

2 Elliott Sadler 444

3 Chase Elliott # 426

4 Trevor Bayne 421

5 Ty Dillon # 414

6 Brian Scott 391

7 Brendan Gaughan 341

8 James Buescher 332

9 Chris Buescher # 328

10 D. Kwasniewski # 303

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

Pos Driver Points

1 Matt Crafton 232

2 Johnny Sauter 221

3 Ron Hornaday Jr. 209

4 Ryan Blaney 207

5 Timothy Peters 205

6 German Quiroga 200

7 Ben Kennedy# 199

8 John Wes Townley 198

9 Jeb Burton 185

10 Joey Coulter 177