Clint Bowyer won’t have to talk about his long drought after the STP 500 at Martinsville, but there’s one Cup Series driver with an even lengthier winless streak still in progress.
Regardless of who your favorite NASCAR driver might be, it was hard not to feel good for Clint Bowyer after he took the checkered flag at the STP 500 on Monday. The win snapped his Cup Series winless streak at 190 races, a long time to keep pushing for a victory with nothing to show for it.
Now that Bowyer has that weight lifted from his shoulders, it’s time to cheer on a handful of other drivers — including one who has an even longer run of futility going. Six drivers have winless streaks of more than 100 races going, so let’s see who needs to visit Victory Lane most desperately, counting down to the longest streak going right now.
Note: These totals are accurate as of the night of March 26, 2018, so it’s possible, and indeed likely, that they might have gone up depending on when you read this. We’re also only including drivers who have actually won at least one Cup Series race. It’s not a drought if you’ve never won, or at least that’s how we’re looking at it.
6. Aric Almirola – 125 races
Last win: 2014 Coke Zero 400 (Daytona)
Almirola was driving for a different team, Richard Petty Motorsports, when he captured his lone NASCAR Cup Series victory to date. His chances of winning again appear to have gone up now that he’s with Stewart-Haas Racing, as Bowyer will surely confirm.
5. AJ Allmendinger – 128 races
Last win: 2014 Cheez-It 355 at the Glen (Watkins Glen)
The Dinger last won a few weeks after Almirola, but his streak is longer because Almirola missed time in 2017 due to injuries. Allmendinge’s best chance for grabbing his next win might also be at the Glen, where he’s always excelled, but as we saw on Sunday, he’s better than his equipment would suggest at Martinsville too.
4. Jamie McMurray – 154 races
Last win: 2013 Camping World RV Sales 500 (Talladega)
As the driver with the most NASCAR Cup Series victories on this list (seven), McMurray is perhaps the most like Bowyer. His streak might come as a surprise since he’s been in the Chase or playoffs several times, but his wins have dried up since the Earnhardt part of Earnhardt Ganassi Racing went away.
3. Trevor Bayne – 170 races
Last win: 2011 Daytona 500
No fans will forget when Bayne, then only 20 years old, stunned the world with his 2011 Daytona victory. Unfortunately, he hasn’t found the winners circle since then, and his winless streak would be even longer if it weren’t for the fact that he drove several seasons part-time for the Wood Brothers before landing his current ride with Roush Fenway Racing.
2. David Ragan – 176 races
Last win: 2013 Aaron’s 499 (Talladega)
Ragan earned two restrictor plate victories in the span of three seasons toward the beginning of the decade, but he’s come up dry since then. He did earn the first ever NASCAR Cup Series victory for Front Row Motorsports, and he had three top-10 finishes in the four plate races in 2017, so perhaps he just needs to keep hitting Daytona and Talladega and his time will come again.
1. Paul Menard – 238 races
Last win: 2011 Brickyard 400 (Indianapolis)
This is the lone driver who could look at Bowyer and go, “Hey, you think you’ve been waiting a long time for a win?” Menard won in his first season at Richard Childress Racing, and then not again since despite making a start in every single NASCAR Cup Series race over that stretch. It took him four teams to get that first victory, so maybe he just needs to keep switching rides a few more times so he can finally break through again. On the other hand, he’s looked pretty fast in the Wood Brothers Ford, so if he just hangs in there and catches a few breaks, he might get to hand this dubious honor over to Ragan or someone else before the end of the 2018 season.