With 10 races down in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, already there have been eight different race winners.
What’s even more striking is the list of high-quality drivers who haven’t won yet, but are driving cars capable of getting to Victory Lane on any given Sunday. Could this be the first time since the playoff field expanded to 16 cars in 2014 that we actually see 16 — or more — different winners in the 26-race Cup regular season? Don’t bet against it.
Here are eight drivers who are winless so far in 2017, but have a great chance to win at least once before the regular season ends.
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A talented rookie, Jones so far has been especially impressive driving the new Furniture Row Racing second Toyota. And in the first 10 races, Furniture Row has often been faster than their quasi-teammates at Joe Gibbs Racing.
So far in 2017, Earnhardt has had a lot of luck, almost all of it bad. But his cars should improve as the year goes on and he has several tracks that line up well for him, including Daytona, Michigan and Pocono. Sooner or later, the results will come.
A championship-caliber driver, Kenseth (pictured left above, with crew chief Jason Ratcliff) has been beset by every plague short of locusts, frogs and boils this year. But at least he’s lead in the last two races and the speed seems to be improving in his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas.
, LAT Images www.latphoto.co.uk Nigel Kinrade
After not leading a single lap in the first four races of the year, Hamlin has led five of the last six races and has gotten stage points in five of the last six stages. Joe Gibbs Racing has struggled, but they are improving.
Already, Elliott has coming close to victory numerous times, and he has more points than other driver who is winless in 2017. After poor finishes at Richmond and Talladega, Elliott’s ready to rebound.
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As expected, Bowyer’s numbers have gone way up since joining Stewart-Haas Racing. He’s in the top 10 in points and finished second to Jimmie Johnson at Bristol. He’s getting closer.
While it’s true that Joe Gibbs Racing has had a subpar season by its own lofty standards, Busch (pictured right above, next to car owner Joe Gibbs) leads the team in points and top fives and he leads the entire series in laps led. And Busch has 38 Cup victories in his career. With him, the question is “when,” not “if.”
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This one is easy: Harvick (above right, with crew chief Rodney Childers) is too good a driver and Stewart-Haas Racing is too good a team not to win soon. The 2014 champ nearly won at Atlanta and is one of the sport’s elite, with 35 career Cup victories. Harvick trails only Kyle Busch in laps led this year.
© Nigel Kinrade/LAT Images www.latphoto.co.uk Nigel Kinrade
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