Jamie McMurray had a wonderful 2010; he won the Daytona 500, the Brickyard 400, and the Bank of America 500. He followed that up with a less-than-stellar 2011, when he failed to win a single race in NASCAR's top division. I expect McMurray to continue to struggle in the Cup Series this season, but he may be able to pull off an upset victory if everything works in his favor.
WINLESS FOR: 41 Races
|Jamie McMurray talks to the media during testing at Daytona (Photo courtesy Getty Images)|
After going winless in 2011, Greg Biffle failed to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship for the first time since 2007. In fact, Biffle was the only driver from Roush-Fenway Racing that did not record a win last year. I expect Biffle to return to Victory Lane this year, as well as making a return to the Chase. Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth were strong at the end of last season, and that should help Biffle find success.
WINLESS FOR: 43 Races
Juan Pablo Montoya
A force to be reckoned with when the Sprint Cup Series races at road courses, Juan Pablo Montoya failed to impress in 2011. Along with teammate Jamie McMurray, he failed to give Chip Ganassi a victory in NASCAR's premier series. His last win came at Watkins Glen in 2010. I expect Montoya to contend on the road courses this season, but don't be surprised if Montoya can find a way to win on an oval.
WINLESS FOR: 50 Races
David Reutimann recorded two victories in his tenure with Michael Waltrip Racing. His last victory showed promise when he raced Jeff Gordon for the victory at Chicagoland in July...of 2010. He did not have a victory in 2011, and was released from MWR at the end of the season. He now finds himself at Tommy Baldwin Racing, where his only chance of winning this season will be on a restrictor-plate track. Chances of doing that? I'd say very slim.
WINLESS FOR: 53 Races
Now, let me start off by saying that Brian Vickers has had a lot against him these past few seasons. In 2010, he only ran 11 races before he was sidelined with blood clots that kept him out of the seat for the rest of the season. Then in 2011, Red Bull Racing decided that they would close their doors at the end of the season. So it is no surprise that Vickers has not been able to win since 2009. And he will not win a race in 2012; Vickers is still without a ride with just a few weeks before the start of the season. Because of Vickers' health problems, I have excluded the races in which Vickers did not participate in from his winless tally.
WINLESS FOR: 60 Races
|Joey Logano (20), Mark Martin (55), and Kyle Busch test at Daytona (Photo courtesy Getty Images)|
Markaholics everywhere had high hopes heading into the 2010 season for their driver; Mark Martin was coming off a season where he won five races and finished a runner-up to then four-time champion Jimmie Johnson. But then it all went downhill for the No. 5 Team, a downhill slide that would plague Martin for the rest of his tenure at Hendrick Motorsports. Now, Martin finds himself at Michael Waltrip Racing, where he will run a part-time schedule, much like the one he ran in 2007 and 2008. I think it is very possible that Mark Martin will make his return to Victory Lane in 2012 driving the No. 55 Aaron's Toyota.
WINLESS FOR: 81 Races
"Sliced Bread" has yet to live up to the hype that followed him into the Sprint Cup Series. With just one win in three full-time seasons, Joey Logano may be one of the biggest disappointments in the Sprint Cup Series. This year, Logano gets a new crew chief, and this may be his last chance. Joe Gibbs Racing can either re-sign Logano at the end of the season, or let him go and move on. Logano needs to win at least one race this year, and I think he will be able to pull it off. Don't expect him to do anything spectacular, but I think Logano will do enough to keep his ride at Joe Gibbs Racing.
WINLESS FOR: 91 Races
|Joey Logano in the garage at Daytona (Photo courtesy Getty Images)|
Jeff Burton has fallen on hard times at Richard Childress Racing. He has seen Kevin Harvick compete for the Sprint Cup Championship for the past two seasons, while he has remained winless. In fact, Burton hasn't won a race since 2008. RCR has shrunk to just three teams once again, and it should help Burton regain his old ways. I expect Burton to win at least once this season.
WINLESS FOR: 113 Races
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
What can I say about Dale Earnhardt Jr. that hasn't been said already. The Most Popular Driver of the Sprint Cup Series moved to Hendrick Motorsports so that he could win a championship that eluded him at Dale Earnahrdt Incorporated. But until last year, he hadn't made the Chase since 2008. In fact, he only has one win with Hendrick; a fuel-mileage race at Michigan in 2008. Earnhardt Jr. seems to have turned a corner, and he seems poised for a win. I believe that Junior Nation will be able to celebrate a victory this season.
WINLESS FOR: 129 Races
|Burton (31), Truex (56), McMurray (1), and Marcos Ambrose (9) test at Daytona (Photo courtesy Getty Images)|
Martin Truex Jr. has a winless streak even longer than Dale Jr.'s. In fact, Truex only has one win in six full-time seasons. That win came at Dover in 2007, and Truex has failed to return to Victory Lane since. Truex Jr. has not yet won since coming to Michael Waltrip Racing, but he should be even more competitive this year for two reasons: Mark Martin and Clint Bowyer. With Martin and Bowyer joining the fray at MWR, it should help Truex Jr. return to victory lane. I see a victory in Truex Jr.'s future, just maybe not right away.
WINLESS FOR: 167 Races
I know by now, you may be thinking to yourself, "Wow, I didn't know all these other people had long winless droughts! I thought it was only Dale Earnhardt Jr.!" Or sadly, some may be thinking, "There are other drivers other than Dale Earnhardt Jr.?!" Whatever you're thinking, I hope this post has opened your eyes. Maybe it will make you think differently when one of these drivers is in a position to win this season; you never know, you may find yourself rooting for them a little bit.
I would like to apologize for the limited posting since the season ended. I decided to take some time off over my winter break from school, but I had been meaning to write this post before I went back to school. I had actually started thinking about this blog while the season was still going on. I hope you enjoyed it, and I can't wait to get the 2012 season started! And if it's anything like 2011, we're in for another great year!