Dale Earnhardt Jr. on a three-plus year winless drought? Not so.
The premise is simple. Take the top 32 drivers, seed them and pair them in one-on-one matchups. The driver who finishes the highest in the next race -- beginning with this weekend's race at Bristol -- moves on to the next round. Survive and advance.
It's what Earnhardt did last year, eliminating both Busch brothers, Brad Keselowski and David Ragan before defeating Matt Kenseth in the championship (based on who finished better at Talladega).
The drivers are seeded based on where they are in the points after last weekend's Las Vegas race. Thus, points leader Greg Biffle is the No. 1 seed with Kevin Harvick, second in the points, the No. 2 seed.
A twist this year is that Mark Martin, 10th in points, is not racing this weekend at Bristol. Thus, every driver behind Martin moved up one spot, allowing David Reutimann, 33rd in the points, to take the 32nd and final seed.
The Sweet 16 will be determined by the results at Bristol. The field then will be cut to the Elite 8 based on what happens at Auto Club Speedway. The Final Four will be set based on results at Martinsville. The championship pairing will be determined by the results at Texas and the champion will be crowned based on the results at Kansas.
Also, instead of noting each region as East, West, etc., the regions are named after a Hall of Fame driver. Thus, regions are named for Dale Earnhardt, Junior Johnson, David Pearson and Richard Petty.
Enough of the explanations, let's get to the matchups:
Biffle, the points leader, has finished third in each of the season's first three races. His average finish of 11.7 is among the best for active drivers at Bristol. Reutimann's average finish is 22.5.
Gordon has the second-best average finish at Bristol among active drivers at 11.5. Ambrose's average finish there is 15.1. Gordon has finished better than Ambrose in five of the last six Bristol races.
Logano's best finish at Bristol is 13th. He has only two top-20 finishes in six career starts there. McMurray has four top-10 finishes at Bristol in the last five races there.
Truex finished second at Bristol in August, the first time he had scored a top-10 there in 12 starts. Kahne has five top-10 finishes in his last nine starts at the track.
Earnhardt, the defending champion of this tournament, has a career average finish of 11.6 at Bristol. Allmendinger's career average finish at the track is 28.1, among the worst in this field, although he's with a new team this year.
Bowyer has struggled lately at Bristol, posting four finishes outside the top 20 in the last five races there. Keselowski won last August's Bristol race, his first top-10 finish in four starts there.
Newman has six top-10 finishes in his last seven Bristol starts and an average finish of 16.7 at the track. Johnson's average finish at Bristol is 14.8. Johnson has finished higher than Newman in six of the last 10 Bristol races.
Kenseth, who lost in the finals last year, is paired against a former Roush teammate. Kenseth has an average Bristol finish of 11.9. Busch's average Bristol finish is 12.9. In their last 10 races at Bristol, they've both finished better than the other five times.
Harvick, who reached the Final Four last year, has an average finish of 12.4 at Bristol. Cassill has an average finish of 39.5 in two Bristol starts.
Smith has finished better than Labonte five of the seven times they've raced against one another at Bristol.
Although Montoya has only two top-10 finishes in his last seven Bristol starts, he's finished better than Menard in five of those races.
Stewart's average finish at Bristol is 17.4. Gilliland's average finish is 28.8, but Gilliland has finished better than Stewart in two of the last four Bristol races.
Hamlin, who was upset in the first round last year, has finished better than Mears in each of the last eight Bristol races.
Burton's career average finish at Bristol is 17.8, while Blaney's career average finish is 30.3.
Busch, who reached the Final Four last year, has the best finishing average at Bristol among active drivers at 9.0. Almirola has an average finish of 26.2 and has placed 30th or worse three times in five Bristol starts.
Another meeting of former teammates. Edwards has finished higher than Ragan in nine of the 10 races they've both competed in at Bristol.