OFFICIAL 2002 STANDINGS
  Driver Points Wins
1. T. Stewart 4,800 3
2. M. Martin 4,762 1
3. K. Busch 4,641 4
4. J. Gordon 4,607 3
5. J. Johnson 4,600 3
6. R. Newman 4,593 1
7. R. Wallace 4,574 0
8. M. Kenseth 4,432 5
9. D. Jarrett 4,415 2
10. R. Rudd 4,323 1
11. D. Earnhardt Jr. 4,270 2
12. J. Burton 4,259 0
13. B. Elliott 4,158 2
14. M. Waltrip 3,985 1
15. R. Craven 3,888 0
16. B. Labonte 3,810 1
17. J. Green 3,704 0
18. S. Marlin 3,703 2
19. D. Blaney 3,670 0
20. R. Gordon 3,632 0
What's clear is, there's virtually no comparison. Jeff Gordon didn't win the championship. Bobfoolery picked just 2 of the Top 5 (Gordon and Stewart), 5 of the Top 10, and 13 of the Top 20-none in the proper order. We badly underrated Mark Martin and Matt Kenseth and grossly overrated Jeff Burton, Bobby Labonte, and Kevin Harvick, who finished 21st, among others who didn't even make the final Top 20. We were absolutely T-boned by the kids, three twenty-somethings in the Top 6.

Thirteen of Bobfoolery's 19 picks to win a race did, but only four numbers are correct. Four drivers not picked to win a race or picked in Bobfoolery's top 20 scored a total of 9 victories. Given our awful record, you might check our math, too.

Largely because Editor Larry Jewett says this misguided missive isn't worth much more space, we activate our patented system to make this year's predictions: a crystal ball filled with used motor oil, flip of an old penny (FLOP), phone call to Madam Swami, and names drawn from a hat.

Bobfoolery picks Jeff Gordon and the No. 24 Dupont Chevy to return to the Winston Cup throne in 2003-for the fifth time. While all but three drivers would have traded seasons with Gordon, Bobfoolery believes he was distracted by his divorce, though we doubt it was loneliness. He will be back in focus and form this year. Hey, he might need the money. The hardest part will be overcoming the Bobfoolery jinx.

No question, Winston Cup has a new face. The young guns, as the 2003 chart indicates, will be strong contenders again, and the champion is going to have to beat one or two of them. But we don't think Busch, Newman, Johnson, Kenseth, or Earnhardt Jr. have yet established the consistency it takes to win a title. Stewart could repeat, but mustering a team to the highest level for two straight years is exceedingly difficult. Mark Martin, Sterling Marlin, and Jeff Burton should return to the hunt.

Those omitted from Bobfoolery's top 20 can breathe a sigh of relief. Our reputation says they'll overachieve.