Thursday, February 4, 2016

Five Drivers Who Need To Win In 2016

12 drivers combined to win all 36 races in 2015.  That means, with 43 drivers starting every race, at least 31 drivers didn't get to victory lane last year.  These five drivers went winless in 2015, and 2016 needs to see them get to victory lane.

5. Kyle Larson
Larson was the Rookie of the Year in 2014 following an impressive rookie season.  Many believed he would get a win in 2015, but a sophomore slump slowed his progress.  Now in his third season, he needs to get to victory lane to prove himself a contender going forward, or he could get lost in the shuffle of mid-pack drivers.
Austin Dillon at NASCAR Media Day on Jan. 21, 2016.
(Courtesy Bob Leverone/Getty Images)

4. Austin Dillon
Dillon is a Truck Series and Xfinity Series champion, but he has yet to live up to his potential in the Sprint Cup Series.  Following a rookie campaign where he completed over 99% of the laps run, he had an up-and-down year that saw strong runs followed by disappointing finishes.  If Dillon continues on without a victory, it will be hard to shake the "grandpa's money" comments that have followed him throughout his career.

3. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Stenhouse had another disappointing season in 2015.  The 2011 and 2012 Xfinity Series Champion has struggled since moving to the Cup Series in 2013, finishing 25th in the standings in 2015.  While Roush-Fenway Racing had a down year in 2015, Stenhouse continued to struggle.  If Stenhouse doesn't get his first Cup victory soon, he may find himself out of a job.

2. Tony Stewart
Danica Patrick at NASCAR Media Day on Jan. 21, 2016.
(Courtesy Bob Leverone/Getty Images)
If Stewart never won another race, no one would be surprised.  He hasn't been the same since breaking his leg in a dirt race in 2013, and then striking and killing driver Kevin Ward Jr. in a dirt track accident a year later.  Stewart seemed off in all of 2015, and with 2016 being his farewell season, a victory would mean a lot to Stewart and his fans.  But his farewell will have to wait.  Stewart will miss the beginning of the season following a non-racing accident on the West Coast in late January.  Stewart had surgery for an injured back on February 2, and there is no timetable for his return.  I personally would like to wish Stewart a speedy recovery.

1. Danica Patrick
The Danica Patrick experiment continues.  Patrick has proven herself a solid restrictor-plate racer, but she has disappointed almost everywhere else.  She's had a few flashes of promise on ovals, but has yet to be consistent.  With pulling out as a sponsor, the clock is ticking on Patrick.  Whilc she is still a highly-marketable driver, it will be interesting how long her remaining sponsors, and team Stewart-Haas Racing, will stand by her side.

 Thanks for reading! Who do you think needs to win in 2016? Let us know in the comments below!

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