It’s been a nice run. And for the likes of Matt Kenseth and Brian Vickers and Kasey Kahne and a bunch of others, extending the “unique winners” streak at New Hampshire was a blast … at the time.
But 12 is enough, at least for those aforementioned drivers. Over the course of the last 12 races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, 12 different drivers have won. Surprisingly, that’s not a record. Texas Motor Speedway holds that one, with 13 winners in 13 races from 1998 through 2007.
Here are the 12, many of which are looking for their first win of 2014: Kurt Busch, Greg Biffle, Joey Logano, Mark Martin, Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer, Ryan Newman, Tony Stewart, Kasey Kahne, Denny Hamlin, Brian Vickers and Matt Kenseth.
Of those 12 (11 of which are running fulltime), seven are looking for their first win of 2014.
So while 13-in-13 would be a record-tying accomplishment, there’s a really good chance we’ll see another driver added to the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field.
Aric Almirola became the 11th different winner this year, thereby most likely becoming the 11th different Chase Grid member.
A look at a few drivers who could join him…
Matt Kenseth: A winner in the series’ last trip to New Hampshire, Kenseth led 106 laps. Few saw that coming – it was his first win, and going into the race he had finished outside the top 10 in eight of 10 races at NHMS.
Brian Vickers: Vickers’ win at New Hampshire made Matt Kenseth’s win at New Hampshire look like a Jimmie Johnson win at Dover. (It was really surprising.) At the time of his victory, Vickers was running a full-time schedule in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. He’s finished in the top 10 in each of the past three NHMS races, so a repeat here would be a lot less surprising.
Kasey Kahne: Kahne could have ended this streak in 2012. He won the July race, and looked very strong in the Chase edition, finishing fifth. He’s led laps in five of the last six New Hampshire races.
Tony Stewart: A three-time New Hampshire winner, only Jeff Gordon has more top fives and top 10s at the track than Stewart. He’s almost always in contention, leading laps in 11 of the last 12 NHMS races.
Ryan Newman: There was a time when Newman was unstoppable at New Hampshire, starting his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career with three consecutive top-five finishes there. Last year was a tough go, with finishes of 39th and 16th.
Clint Bowyer: Bowyer’s 2007 victory at New Hampshire, in which he led 222 laps, earned him a rare perfect driver rating of 150.0. He has since added another win (Sept. 2010).