Heavy hitters hunting a breakthrough in Lone Star State
For the first time since 2003, there have been six different winners in the first six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races of the season. And a lot of heavy hitters will be trying to make it seven in a row during Sunday’s Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Here are seven drivers who are winless so far in 2014, but on Sunday could find their way to Victory Lane:
MATT KENSETH — Last year’s championship runner-up is a beast at TMS, where he has two victories and 13 top-five finishes in 23 starts. Kenseth has an average finish here of 8.304, best of anyone in the race, and he’s led the most laps of anyone at 775. The Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas excel at 1.5-mile tracks, too.
JIMMIE JOHNSON — The six-time champion will be racing with a heavy heart this weekend after the loss of his brother-in-law Jordan Janway, who was killed in a skydiving accident on Sunday. But Johnson will be all business at TMS, where he has three race victories and an average finish of 8.714.
GREG BIFFLE — Another driver with gaudy numbers at Texas is Biffle, who has won twice here, led 733 laps and has eight top fives in 20 starts. With his Roush Fenway Racing teammate Carl Edwards having already gone to Victory Lane this year, the Biff is eager to catch up.
TONY STEWART — With the worst of his broken leg apparently behind him, two-time TMS winner Stewart so far has posted top-five finishes at Bristol Motor Speedway and Auto Club Speedway. He also has led an impressive 727 laps here. And the fact that teammates Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch have both already won races this season tells you his Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolets are bad fast.
DENNY HAMLIN — Also a two-time winner at TMS, Hamlin swept both races in 2010 and is always dangerous here. As noted above with his teammate Matt Kenseth, the JGR Toyotas excel at 1.5-mile tracks. Hamlin’s average finish here is 10.688, which trails only Kenseth and Johnson.
JOEY LOGANO — After struggling mightily at TMS early in his career, Logano turned things around last year, his first with Penske Racing. Logano finished fifth here last here and then improved to third in the fall Texas race.
JEFF GORDON — The four-time champion is either great here or awful. Gordon has one victory and eight top-five finishes at TMS, where he has led 599 laps. Last year, though, he finished 38th in both races. But Gordon his running well this year and has finished no worse than 13th in any race. He might be the darkhorse this time around.