Here’s an interesting statistic: 17 of the 39 drivers in Monday’s Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway — 44 percent — have never won a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race (1 p.m. ET, FOX).
Some of those 17 drivers will never win at NASCAR’s highest level. Others will eventually triumph if and when they move to teams that can field consistently competitive cars.
But there’s a group of winless who are ready to win right now, drivers with the skillsets, the talent and the teams to find Victory Lane in any given race — possibly as soon as this afternoon at the historic Tennessee short track.
It takes driving talent and the right team to get the job done. Here are five drivers who have never won at the Cup level, but have a realistic shot at victory on Monday.
On Saturday, Blaney ran up front all-race long in the NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Bristol, which should help him in today’s race. So far this weekend, Blaney’s Wood Brothers Racing Ford has been pretty good but not great.
During Saturday’s first of two practices, Dillon’s Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet was fifth-fastest in best 10 consecutive lap average speed. On top of that, last August Dillon finished fourth in the Bristol Cup race and won the XFINITY Series race here.
In his first Cup race here as a rookie last year, Elliott posted an excellent fourth-place finish. And because he’s second in points, he drew the No. 2 starting spot after qualifying rained out on Friday. Elliott was fast in practice, too: He was fourth in the final Happy Hour session and third in best 10 consecutive lap average speed Saturday morning.
Wow, Jones drove like an old veteran in winning his second consecutive Bristol XFINITY Series race. He overcame a pit-road penalty, nerfed Ryan Blaney out of the lead and put on a stellar performance to win. Jones’ Furniture Row Racing Cup car has been wicked fast all weekend, too. He just might be the one to get it done on Monday.