By admin | November 5, 2008
By Richard Allen
With only two races remaining in the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, three of the sport’s biggest stars face the prospect of going winless over an entire season. Two former champions and one previous winner of the schedule’s most prominent races may not win at all this year.
The two remaining races will be staged at the Phoenix International Raceway and the Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Kevin Harvick drives for the heavily sponsored and prolific team of Richard Childress Racing. This California native has won some of the sport’s biggest prizes. In 2003, he won the Brickyard 400 at the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Harvick has won 11 times since taking over for Dale Earnhardt, Sr. following ‘The Intimidator’s’ fatal crash in the 2001 Daytona 500.
In 2007 the driver of car #29 added NASCAR’s crown jewel, the Daytona 500, to his list of races won. However, he has not won a points paying race since. He did win the Sprint All Star Race that same year.
Harvick has won twice in Phoenix but has never won in Homestead.
Another driver about to experience a winless season is Matt Kenseth. The 2003 Sprint Cup champion has won at least one race in each of the past six seasons.
Kenseth has won 16 races since becoming a full time Cup driver for Roush Fenway Racing in 2000. His last win came in the last event of the 2007 season at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. He has also won once in Phoenix. He still has two tracks on which he has had success to find victory lane before being shut out over the course of an entire season.
Aside from Harvick and Kenseth, the biggest star at risk of going winless this season is Jeff Gordon.
This is certainly a new experience for Gordon. He is a four time Sprint Cup champion. He is also one of the most prolific winners in modern NASCAR history. His 81 race wins in NASCAR’s top division place him far ahead of all other active drivers on NASCAR‘s all time win list.
Since winning his first race in 1994 for Hendrick Motorsports, Gordon has won at least one race, and typically many more, every year since. Between 1996-1998 he took 33 checkered flags, 13 of which were captured in 1998.
Unfortunately for Gordon, the two remaining tracks have not been among his best. He has won only once in Phoenix in 2007. He has never won in Homestead. His best finish on that relatively new track was a 3rd in 2004.
At least one and possibly all three of these top drivers could go winless in 2008. With three drivers, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards and Jimmie Johnson accounting for 22 wins this season there have not been many chances for others to find victory lane.
Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth and Jeff Gordon are about to tread on new ground in that they have not yet tread on the familiar ground of the winner’s circle. With only two races remaining these stars have little time to extend their winning ways into 2008.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
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