Winless So Far

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Johnson and Kenseth combined to win 13 races last season, but have yet to reach Victory Lane so far in 2014 after seven races. (Photo: Getty Images)

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There are a number of top name drivers who have yet to win a Sprint Cup Series race in 2014.

While the first seven races of the season have produced seven different drivers that list is missing several drivers who were expected to visit Victory Lane early.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch and Joey Logano have all crossed the finish line first in the early portion of the campaign and more than likely punched a ticket to the Chase thanks to NASCAR’s new championship format.

But there are eleven drivers that scored at least one victory in 2013 that so far have been shut out this season; Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon, Greg Biffle, Ryan Newman, Denny Hamlin, Jamie McMurray, Martin Truex Jr., Tony Stewart and David Ragan.

Of that group, defending Sprint Cup Series champion Johnson and Kenseth combined to win 13 races last season. But for a variety of reasons both have goose eggs in the victory column seven races into 2014.

Johnson has been competitive on nearly a weekly basis but could not seal the deal despite having a dominant car at least a couple times most recently at Martinsville, where he was passed by Kurt Busch for the eventual win only eleven laps from the finish.

The six-time champ was basically out of the picture from the start of Monday’s rain-delayed Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway when his he suffered damage from turf kicked up by teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s early excursion through the infield grass.

"It's kind of surreal what happened," Johnson said. "Junior hit the grass there and something off his car like a splitter or something just destroyed my windshield, and then something hit the nose of the car, too."

The 25th-place finish Johnson ultimately had was his second outside the top 20 this year with the first coming at Auto Club Speedway when he blew a tire with only seven laps to go.

Kenseth, who was one of the strongest drivers on 1.5-mile tracks a year ago, hasn’t been able to carry that mastery over to 2014 just yet. He finished 10th at Las Vegas last month and turned in a seventh-place performance Monday in Texas.

“We just didn’t qualify well and then we just really struggled,” Kenseth explained. “So, we just started -- we were just really far off. We were really loose. We got a little bit better, but really nothing we could compete with.”

Despite still looking for a victory, Kenseth does find himself only four points behind Gordon for the Sprint Cup Series lead heading into the eighth race of the season this Saturday night at Darlington Raceway.

Based on recent Darlington performances, the winless group may fare well in this weekend’s Bojangles' Southern 500. Hamlin leads all active drivers in average finish at the South Carolina track over the last 10 starts with a 5.4 mark, including a win in 2010.

Gordon is next on that list with a 7.0 average finish while Johnson, Truex Jr., Stewart and Kenseth take up spots three through six.

Biffle, who has generated a 14.7 average finish in his last ten Darlington starts, won back-to-back races in 2005-2006.

Although it’s still considered a long shot for more than 16 drivers to win before the regular season ends at Richmond in September, the odds of a few more different faces in Victory Lane over the coming weeks is strong.

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