By the numbers: Race wins by Chase drivers without a title
It’s an interesting mix of drivers and teams in this year’s Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, which kicks off with Sunday’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 at Chicagoland Speedway.
This year’s Chase features seven past Sprint Cup champions: Six-time Cup title winner Jimmie Johnson and three-time winner Tony Stewart are the two drivers in the field with multiple championships.
Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch have one title apiece and they would each like to become the 16th driver in NASCAR history to win more than one Premier Series championship.
But what about the nine other drivers in the Chase who haven’t won a title yet?
Here’s how they stack up in terms of race victories:
9. Austin Dillon, 0 victories
Now in his third full Sprint Cup season, Dillon has made 111 starts with a best finish of third at Talladega this past May. Dillon has led 5 laps this year.
8. Chase Elliott, 0
One of two rookies in the Chase, Elliott has 31 career Cup starts this year, finishing second in both Michigan races. Elliott has led 163 laps so far in 2016.
7. Chris Buescher, 1
The surprise Pocono winner, Buescher has 32 Cup starts to his credit and has led 12 laps this year. Along with Elliott, he is the other rookie in this year’s Chase.
6. Kyle Larson, 1
At Michigan last month, Larson won for the first time in the 99th of his 101 Cup starts. He’s led a lot this year, though, pacing 241 laps in the first 26 races.
5. Martin Truex Jr., 5
This is the first season Truex has won more than one race in a season. He won two of NASCAR’s biggest races, the Coca-Cola 600 and the Bojangles’ Southern 500, and finished 0.010 seconds behind Denny Hamlin in the Daytona 500. Truex has 395 Cup starts to his credit and this year has led 1,234 laps, second only to Kyle Busch.
4. Jamie McMurray, 7
It’s been nearly three years since McMurray won a race, the last time coming at Talladega in October 2013. He’s made 500 career Cup starts, but so far this year hasn’t led a single lap.
3. Joey Logano, 15
Last year, Logano won three straight Chase races and appeared headed for his first title. Then came Martinsville and Matt Kenseth, who knocked him out of the race and the championship. Logano has 281 Cup starts and his year has led 389 laps.
2. Carl Edwards, 27
OK, here are some interesting facts: The two drivers in this year’s Chase who have the most career victories but no championships are Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Edwards and Denny Hamlin. Both have gone into the final race of the season leading the Chase, only to lose it. It happened to Hamlin at Homestead in 2010 and to Edwards there a year later. Edwards has 435 career Cup starts and 742 laps led this year.
1. Denny Hamlin, 29
Hamlin holds the honor of having the most Cup race victories of any active driver who hasn’t won a championship. Is this the year he or Edwards finally seals the deal? It could be. This year, Hamlin has led 404 laps and he has 388 career starts.