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(Photo: Nigel Kinrade / NKP)

The 10: Power Rankings Of The Best Drivers To Never Win A Cup Race

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is undoubtedly the pinnacle of stock car racing. Every driver who has made even one start dreams of scoring a win. It’s an exclusive club, with only 186 members as of the start of the 2017 season. The best beating the best when they are at their best. But what about the rest?

For every one of those 186 winners, there are dozens who finished out their time behind the wheel without a single Cup trophy. The reasons why are varied. However, there are many drivers whose lack of a win defies logic. Maybe they never had the best equipment in Cup. Maybe their luck was downright pitiful. Maybe they needed just one little break that never came.

So here’s my personal thoughts on the best of the almost, should-have, would-have, near miss, and hard luck drivers and where they rank in comparison to the others in that category. Take a gander for yourself. See if you agree or if you feel I’m destined to join them as another one who could never quite get it right.

How the Rankings Are Calculated: This week, unlike others, is merely the view of the author Frank Velat. He compiled a list of the top drivers who never reached victory lane in the premier division of NASCAR. Then, he factored in things like success in other series, quality of equipment and personnel, performance of other drivers in that ride, and more. Throw in a reason why they should’ve won, a reason why they didn’t and the closest they came to victory and there you have it. The 10 best drivers to never win a Cup race.

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1

(Photo: NASCAR via Getty Images)

Mike Skinner

Why he should have: Two-time truck champ driving for Richard Childress Racing

Why he didn’t: Probably because NASCAR didn’t run points races in Japan

Closest call: 2000 Diehard 500 (finished second)

10

2

 
(Photo: NASCAR via Getty Images)

Ted Musgrave

Why he should have: Drove for Roush Racing alongside winners Mark Martin and Jeff Burton

Why he didn’t: I don’t know why. You probably don’t know why. I don’t think Ted even knows why

Closest call: 1997 TranSouth 400 (finished second)


9

3

(Photo: NASCAR via Getty Images)

Dave Blaney

Why he should have: Open wheel ace driving for Bill Davis during that team’s peak era

Why he didn’t: A  pit road mishap at Atlanta will always be a sore spot for Blaney fans

Closest call: 2001 Cracker Barrel 500 (lost a wheel after leading much of the race)


8

4

(Photographer Unknown)

Buddy Arrington

Why he should have: 560 starts would give anyone a fair share of chances

Why he didn’t: Tough to break through when Petty, Pearson, Yarborough, Allison, and Waltrip are in the field every week

Closest call: 1979 Winston 500 (led two laps and finished third)


7

5

(Photo: NASCAR via Getty Images)

Todd Bodine

Why he should have: Truck champion and XFINITY winner made 241 starts

Why he didn’t: Only had a few starts in a top tier ride

Closest call: 1994 Hooters 500 (finished third)


 

6

6

 

(Photo: Barry Cantrell / NKP)

Jeff Green

Why he should have: Several high profile rides, including RCR and Dale Earnhardt Inc.

Why he didn’t: Maybe the Green brothers were just better at XFINITY racing. After all, he did win that championship by over 500 points in 2000.

Closest call: 2002 New England 300 (finished second)


5

7

(Photographer Unknown)

Dick Trickle

Why he should have: He won over a thousand short track races. That’ll certainly set an expectation for success.

Why he didn’t: Another racer whose ride didn’t provide them with the chance to reach their potential

Closest call: 1997 Goody’s 500 (finished third)


4

8

(Photographer Unknown)

Cecil Gordon

Why he should have: Not only did he make 449 starts, but he finished in the top five 29 times.

Why he didn’t: 29 top fives don’t help when Richard Petty still finishes ahead of you in over half of them

Closest call: 1975 Mason-Dixon 500 (finished second)

3

9

 

Wally Dallenbach Jr

Why he should have: Had a seat at Hendrick Motorsports during the one of the most impressive runs any team has ever had

Why he didn’t: NASCAR only runs two events on road courses each year

Closest call: 1995 Bud at the Glen (finished second)

 

 

(Photo: NASCAR)

2

10

 

Robert Pressley

Why he should have: Short track wheelman who spent several competitive seasons in the XFINITY Series

Why he didn’t: Yet another driver limited by rides that weren’t too prestigious. Plus, he was a 36-year-old rookie

Closest call: 2001 Tropicana 400 (finished second)

 

 

(Photo: NASCAR)

1

 

About Frank Velat

Frank Velat has been an avid follower of NASCAR and other motorsports for over 20 years. He brings a blend of passionate fan and objective author to his work. Frank offers unique perspectives that everyone can relate to, remembering the sport's past all the while embracing its future. Follow along with @FrankVelat on Twitter.

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5 comments

  1. Rick Mast, Hut Stricklin, and Chad Little would like a word.

  2. And it’s Wally Dallenbach, Jr. Wally Dallenbach was born in 1936. And he did wind up with Robin McCall, who raced at Cayuga.

  3. My choice would be Joe Ruttman. If you ever saw him in the AVC Camaro you would probably agree. He came closest at Richmond. He was leading until a real caution flew and then his diff broke and two laps later it started to rain And a guy named Richard Petty lucked into another one. Ruttman didn’t do too badly in the trucks.

    I wonder how Childress would have done if he didn’t have to run for points..

  4. Wally D. is Clint Bowyer??????
    Robert Pressely is Kevin Harvick????????