So Kurt Busch got his first win of the season last Saturday. He knocked on the door patiently, and kicked it in at Bristol. If you thought he was bound to eventually score, that wasn’t bad pizza. It was going to happen sooner or later. Have you looked at who remains on the list of winless drivers in 2018? It’s a pretty interesting collection.
Who would have thought Jimmie Johnson would be a winless driver this far into 2018? This is a seven-time champion. What’s more, it’s not he’s become an overnight back marker. He’s actually been quite competitive of late, but Johnson is nowhere near his old dominant. Since racing in the Cup series, he’s never gone through a season winless.
Another former champion shut out so far is Brad Keselowski. Other than a runner-up finish at Michigan, this has been a cruel summer for the Blue Deuce. In three of his last eight races, Bad Brad has finished 30th or worse. Like Johnson, it’s hard to imagine Keselowski being a winless driver in 2018.
2017 was something of a breakout season for Kyle Larson. This season, the winner of four races last year has fallen victim to what I used to call “Mark Martin Syndrome,”- always a bride’s maid, but never a bride. On five occasions, the kid from Cali has finished second. The good news, he’s the highest ranked winless driver and well within the playoff picture.
Denny Hamlin? This may be the biggest shocker on the list. The numbers really aren’t bad, but like just about every other top winless driver, Hambone has seen his share of bad luck. His number of DNFs aren’t nearly as high as Keselowski’s five, or the four registered by Ryan Blaney or Martin Truex. I have a feeling this streak of futility won’t last.
Ryan Blaney has been a contender on numerous occasions, and he has more top fives than Kurt Busch. But it’s wins we’re talking about here, and Blaney has yet to close the deal.
While finding a new lease on life, Aric Almirola hasn’t closed the deal yet. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has regressed in this humble opinion. Much ballyhooed youngsters like Bubba Wallace and William Byron have been more miss than hit.
This doesn’t even account for all the winning by the likes of Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. I’m also thinking there are more wins in store for Clint Bowyer, Chase Elliott and Kurt Busch.
As the songwriter opined, this has been one “long strange trip.”