The 36-race 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season is 12 points-paying races old. That means there are 14 races to go, counting Sunday’s FedEx 400 Benefiting Austism Speaks at Dover (Del.) International Speedway, before the cutoff to get into the 16-driver Chase for the Sprint Cup championship postseason that follows race 26. Translation: once the Dover race is completed, Cup competitors will be halfway to the Chase. At the almost-halfway mark, there are 10 different winners in the first 12 raaces. That being said, I’m re-opening that whole debate of whether or not there will be more than 16 winners come Chase time.
That would require six more drivers who haven’t yet won to each win at least one race in the next 14. Going on who hasn’t won yet, I guess it’s possible. But then again, there’s a real possibility it may not happen, either.
After Sunday’s night’s Coca-Cola 600, Jimmie Johnson’s name was scratched off the list of winless drivers. And Johnson’s a definite favorite at Dover. He leads all active drivers with eight victories at Dover. That being said, there’s a a good chance there will still be only 10 diffferent winners after Dover.
But on the flip side, there are several big name, unexpected drivers who are still winless — a list that includes the likes of Matt Kenseth. Remember him? He’s the guy who led the series in wins last year and battled Johnson for the Sprint Cup last year. It’s about time he find his way back to victory lane. There are several other potential winners — Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle, Clint Bowhyer and Kasey Kahne, just to name a few — who could find their ways to victory lane over the course of the next 13 races, or 14 counting Dover.
But considering the drivers who have won, I think I’m going to recant the prediction I think I remember making several weeks ago. While I think a few more drivers are going to win in the coming weeks, I don’t think we’re going to see that number of winners exceed 16 by the time Richmond, the Chase cutoff, rolls around. I’m predicting a total of 12 or 13, maybe. But more than 16? I kind of doubt it at this point.
I admit, I am kind of wishy-washy on the subject. I do think it’s possible, considering the aforementioned winless drivers. Then add it the possibility of other winners. Kyle Larson, some weeks, looks to be on the verge of a first-career win. Jamie McMurray has a knack for winning big races and the Brickyard is coming up. Then, there’s Daytona in July, and sometimes restrictor plate races are a crap-shoot. So, it could happen.
But I wouldn’t put money on it.