For some drivers, winning in 2014 a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’
A lot has been made of the fact that last Sunday at Martinsville brought us our sixth different winner in the first six races of the season. That’s a really big deal and speaks well to the level of competition in our sport. I’ve been getting asked all week by the fans if I think we could have another first-time 2014 winner this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.
The answer is it definitely can happen. There are six drivers right now who are very happy this early in the season, but I think the bigger story is the list of names of those who haven’t won. You’ve got Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Greg Biffle and the list just goes on and on. There is an incredible array of top-notch drivers who still haven’t won this season. So honestly, I can see this streak continuing for a few more weeks.
If you look at the drivers who have already won a race this year, there are some who most folks probably weren’t expecting to win this early. I think those drivers and their teams’ ability to get their arms around this new rules package for 2014 before the others has definitely given them the edge so far.
Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch definitely are the two who you would have to say bucked the odds by winning so early. Both are with a new organization this season. Both have new crew chiefs than they did in 2013. You can even take that a step further when you realize that Kurt’s team literally didnât even exist in 2013. So it’s pretty darn impressive from both Kevin and Kurt this early in the season.
We all expect to see the No. 48 win soon. That’s simply a given. I mean, for that matter, Jimmie almost pulled it off Sunday at Martinsville before having to settle for second place. Jimmie almost won the week before at Fontana, as well. So with the No. 48, everyone knows it is more a "when" versus an "if" when it comes to visiting Victory Lane, because that team is getting better and better.
I love the fact that we don’t have a single team dominating the sport. It gives our sport the unpredictability of "Who will it be this weekend?" Again, when you look down the list of all-star drivers who haven’t won a race yet this season, I don’t see any reason that makes me believe we won’t have different winners for a number of weeks to come.