Matt Kenseth lost his partner in “winlessness” when Jimmie Johnson had his 2014 breakthrough victory this past Sunday in the Coca-Cola 600. Kenseth, the 2003 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion and the championship runner-up last year to Johnson, thus became the highest-profile name on the list of drivers still looking for their first victory of the year.
But Kenseth is not alone. Twelve races into the season – meaning there are 14 races remaining before the start of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup – a number of other Chase-worthy drivers are on the outside looking in, including three-time champion Tony Stewart (see page 2).
Here’s an around-the-horn look at some others who are 0-for-12:
• Brian Vickers: The 2003 NASCAR Nationwide series champion is, on the upside, eighth in points.
• Ryan Newman: Newman is 10th in points, with no top-five finishes.
• Greg Biffle: He won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series title in 2000, the NASCAR Nationwide Series title in 2002 and was the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship runner-up in 2005. But he’s winless and in 11th place points-wise, with four top 10s and two top fives.
• Kasey Kahne: Kahne is 17th in points with only one top five, surprising for a driver with 16 career victories.
• Clint Bowyer: The 2008 NASCAR Nationwide series champion and the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup championship runner-up is 20th in points.
• Jamie McMurray: His emotional – and financially rewarding – victory in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race notwithstanding, he needs a points-paying series victory. McMurray is 23rd in points.
• Martin Truex Jr.: The NASCAR Nationwide champion in 2004 and ’05 is way back in 26th place, still looking not only for a victory but his first top-five finish of the year.