There are still several drivers who were expected to win this season searching for their first trip to Victory Lane.
There are only four races left in the regular season and after 22 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series events, these are the five most surprising winless drivers on the circuit:
Many predicted a big year for Larson after a 2017 campaign that saw Larson put four wins on the board. But the Chip Ganassi Racing driver has yet to score a single victory this year although he’s come close a few times. Larson does have six top-five finishes and this week returns to Michigan International Speedway, where he’s won three of the last four races held at the two-mile track.
The Team Penske driver has recently been stuck in a mediocre rut that has dropped Keselowski to seventh in the point standings. He’s scored five top-five finishes and has four stage wins but has not yet been able to take a checkered flag. Keselowski predicted a Ford struggle in the off-season that has not been the case for Stewart-Haas Racing drivers but appears to be very real right now for Team Penske.
Not many would have predicted Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Kyle Busch winning six times and Erik Jones once before Hamlin visited Victory Lane. However, that’s the scenario Hamlin faces as August motors along. Three DNFs and a myriad of problems on pit road have plagued Hamlin, who has shown up on many weekends with a very fast racecar but has been unable to seal the deal with the win.
You have to go back to the 2017 Daytona 500 to find the last time Busch celebrated a Cup Series win. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver has climbed to fourth in the point standings thanks to a consistent season. But putting himself into contention to strike for a victory late in races has proven to be a frustrating proposition for Busch so far this year.
The seven-time champion is in uncharted territory right now with the longest winless drought of his Hall of Fame career. Johnson hasn’t won since May of last season, which is an eternity by his lofty standards. Even more surprising has been the almost total lack of sustained speed this year that Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus continue to chase. It seems improbable to say but if Johnson does make the playoffs through the point system, he is a logical choice as one of the first four to be eliminated in the first round unless there’s a dramatic uptick in performance.
The opinions expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the Motor Racing Network.