There’s been this talk the last severeal years in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series circles about a so-called second-place jinx — drivers who finish second in points one season seem to practically fall off the radar the falling year. It’s a phenomenon that has gone back several years. Clint Bowyer, though, last year’s runner-up to champion Brad Keselowski, looks to be changing that, at least so far.
You can trace this whole jinx thing back to 2005. Greg Biffle finished second to Tony Stewart that year. But come 2006, Biffle couldn’t even magage to finish out the year in the top-10. Then, move ahead to 2006 when Jimmie Johnson began his reign of five-straight yeears at the top. Several different drivers finished second to Johnson during that time, and usually, they floundered the following season.
Matt Kenseth was the runner-up guy in 2006. He didn’t flounder as much as some of the other guys, finishing fourth in 2007. So, maybe Kenseth didn’t exactly suffer the jinx or curse, but he seems to be one of the rare exceptions, rather than the rule.
Jeff Gordon was runner-up to Hendrick Motorsports teammate Johnson in 2007, but the next year he was back in seventh. I guess you could say that at least he did remain in the top-10 the next year. That can’t be said for every second-placer.
Carl Edwards was second in 2008. A year later, he wasn’t even in the top-10. The same went for Mark Martin, the 2009 runner-up. In 2010, Denny Hamlin finished second in points. A year later, he barely finished out the 2010 season in the top-10, finishing ninth.
Edwards suffered from this so-called jinx a second time after he finished second in points again in 2011. In 2012, though, he didn’t even make the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
That brings us to Clint Bowyer, last year’s runner-up. Yes, the 2013 season’s still young. We’re only nine points-paying races in, so just over a third of NASCAR’s regular season is in the history books. And then there’s the Chase for the Sprint Cup for which points are reset. Needless to say, anything can happen between now and the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November. But so far, so good for Bowyer.
Bowyer still hasn’t won yet in 2013, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been a good season so far. He’s finished in the top-five in nearly half (4) of the nine races completed. That includes a couple of second-place showings at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway and last weekend at Richmond (Va.) International raceway. Right now, he finds himself fifth in points heading to this weekend’s host track, Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.
As far as Bowyer goes — jinx, schminx.
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