Will Dale Earnhardt Jr., other top stars get shut out this year?
Will this be the year NASCAR sees a reduction in the number of race winners and some of the sport’s biggest stars shut out of Victory Lane?
Last year after the first 10 races of the year, there were eight different winners. So far this season, just six different winners have won in the opening 10 races.
All told, there are five active drivers who combined to win 17 races in 2015, but are still looking for their first triumphs of 2016.
Here’s who they are:
5. MARTIN TRUEX JR., 1 victory in 2015 — Last year was the best season of Truex’s career, as he won at Pocono and made it all the way to the final round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. He opened 2016 finishing second by 0.01 seconds to Denny Hamlin in the Daytona 500.
4. KURT BUSCH, 2 — The elder Busch is enjoying a solid season, sitting sixth in points on the basis of eight top 10s in 10 races, with a best of third at Bristol. Last year, the 2004 Sprint Cup champion won the first races at both Richmond and Michigan.
3. DALE EARNHARDT JR., 3 — Already this season, Earnhardt has come close to winning multiple races. He finished second at Atlanta, Texas and Bristol, although he did not lead a lap in any of those three races.
2. MATT KENSETH, 5 — Without question, the hard-luck saga of the year belongs to Kenseth, who could have won at least three races already had things fallen a little differently, most notably at Daytona and Martinsville. Kenseth has led laps in nine of 10 races this year, but his best finishes are a pair of seventh-place runs at Phoenix and Richmond.
1. JOEY LOGANO, 6 — Is it any surprise that Logano’s name follows Kenseth’s? The two have been locked together since last year’s Chase, which ended in disaster for both drivers. Logano led the series in victories last year, but is winless so far. He does have a runner-up finish at Las Vegas and a third-place run at Texas.