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NASCAR 101: 5 Longest Active Winless Streaks in All 3 Series

It’s hard to believe that Kyle Larson had not won in 75 races. Or the fact that Jimmie Johnson still can’t find victory lane.

While Larson was able to take a home a much needed checkered flag last Sunday (Oct. 6) at Dover International Raceway to end his winless streak in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Dover’s all-time wins leader Johnson has been snuffed since his win at the Monster Mile well over two years ago.

However, he still owns one of the longest active winless streaks (89 races) in NASCAR, but it is not the longest one. In fact, there are seven drivers with larger streaks, beginning with Casey Mears.

Longest Active Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Winless Streaks

1. Casey Mears: 333 races

Although he has just made one start this season, Mears has the longest winless streak for any active Cup driver. Mears’ lone win to date came way back in the 2007 Coca-Cola 600, when the California native was with Hendrick Motorsports. Mears beat JJ Yeley on an economy run to claim the biggest win of his life. Since then, Mears has tallied 333 starts, including this season’s Daytona 500, but has failed to find victory lane.

2. Joe Nemechek: 319 races

Like Mears, Joe Nemechek has not started in every race since his last victory. However, Nemechek has made 319 starts since his 2004 win at Kansas Motor Speedway. That day, Nemechek beat Ricky Rudd to claim his fourth career victory. This season, Nemechek has competed in four races this season but has come well shy of ending that streak, after only posting a best finish of 30th last weekend at Dover.

3. Paul Menard: 298 races

The first full-time driver on the list is Paul Menard. To date, Menard has won only one race in his career; the 2011 Brickyard 400. Menard beat Jeff Gordon on fuel mileage to score the win for Richard Childress Racing. While glimpses of a second win have been few and far between since, the Wisconsin native has competed in every single MENCS event since that triumphant day. Set to retire at the end of the year, Menard has seven opportunities left to claim that second victory. If that did happen, it would give Wood Brothers Racing its 100th win.

4. David Ragan: 236 races

Like Menard, David Ragan is set to retire at the end of the season. Throughout his long career, Ragan has won two races: Daytona International Speedway in July 2011, and another at Talladega Superspeedway in 2013. Since that dramatic day in 2013, he has gone 0-for-236. However, long accredited as one of NASCAR’s most skillful superspeedway drivers, Ragan has a shot to make it three wins this weekend at Talladega.

5. Jamie McMurray: 185 races

Despite being currently retired, Jamie McMurray made a start this year in the season-opening Daytona 500. With that start, McMurray extended his winless streak to 185 events since he took the step of the podium in 2014 at Talladega Superspeedway. McMurray found victory lane seven times throughout his career, his victories including Daytona 500, Coca-Cola 600 and Brickyard 400 crowns.

Longest Active Xfinity Series Winless Streaks

1. Morgan Shepherd: 358 races

77-year-old Morgan Shepherd has become a stalwart in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Shepherd has started a race in every single season since the series’ inception in 1982, except for a three-year gap between 2000 and 2002. While his last win might have come over 30 years ago in the 1988 Kroger 300 at Lucas Oil Raceway, Shepherd is not slowing down. With no plans to retire anywhere in the near future, the 15-time winner has plenty of time to make it 16.

2. Jeff Green: 309 races

At one time, Jeff Green was one of the most dominant competitors in the Xfinity Series. In fact, he claimed the championship in 2000 by a 616-point margin. Green continued that success, which included a 2002 victory at Charlotte Motor Speedway, for the next few years, before turning his eyes toward the Cup Series in the mid-2000s. Since that 2002 victory, Green has failed to find victory lane. This season, Green started the first 17 events of the season, before being sidelined for the remainder due to rotator cuff surgery.

3. Hermie Sadler: 221 races

Although Hermie Sadler is a full-time pit reporter for Fox Sports, the Virginia native still straps on a helmet occasionally. Sadler did just that most recently at Richmond Raceway, where he, unfortunately, extended his winless streak to 221 races. His last victory came in 1994 at Orange County Speedway in North Carolina. Leading 85 laps, Sadler beat out Dennis Setzer and Kenny Wallace.

4. Joe Nemechek: 194 races

The Cup Series is not the only series in which Nemechek has an extensive winless streak. After eight NXS starts this season, Nemechek’s Xfinity streak has expanded to 194 races. Ironically, Nemechek’s last Xfinity win happened on the same weekend as his last Cup win; Nemechek swept a race weekend at Kansas Speedway in 2004 but has failed to find victory in all three national series since.

5. Stephen Leicht: 90 races

Stephen Leicht, the lone full-time driver in the top five, last won a race in his only other full-time season, 2007. Leicht led 13 laps to beat Brad Coleman at Kentucky Speedway that season. The win is Leicht’s only career victory to date. This season, Leicht, who currently competes for JD Motorsports with Gary Keller, has a best fifth, which was recorded at Daytona this summer.

Longest Active Truck Series Winless Streaks

1. Travis Kvapil: 84 races

Despite competing in just one race this season, 2003 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series champion Travis Kavpil has the longest active winless streak in the series. Kvapil competed full time on the circuit from 2001 to 2004 and again in 2007 before moving full time to the Cup Series in 2008. Kvapil’s last win came at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2007, and though he has not run a full season since (despite competing in a majority of the 2015 and 2016), he has failed to find victory lane in 12 years.

2. Matt Crafton: 54 races

One of three full-time drivers in the top five for the Truck Series, Matt Crafton has had victory slip away several times from him since his last win at the Eldora Speedway dirt track in 2017. Despite the 54 race winless streak, Crafton is still on of NASCAR’s top truckers. The veteran driver made the playoffs once again this year and has advanced to the Round of 6.

3. Jeb Burton: 42 races

Jeb Burton has only competed in a mere 54 NGOTS events but still owns one of the series’ longest win droughts. Do the math and you will discover that Burton’s last win came in his 12th career start. That victory came at Texas Motor Speedway in 2013, which was his rookie season. Although Ty Dillon and Brendan Gaughan led more laps that day, Burton snuck into the picture to claim his only win to date.

4. Ben Rhodes: 30 races

Ben Rhodes waited a long time before he found victory lane for the first time at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2017. But he didn’t have to wait long before he found it again next season at Kentucky Speedway in 2018. However, Rhodes has failed to find it since. While Rhodes may be in the longest streak of his young career, the Kentucky native has put up impressive statistics this year, despite just barely missing the playoffs.

5. Grant Enfinger: 24 races

Like his current teammate Crafton, Grant Enfinger made the playoffs this year but still has a winless streak that lasts over a season. Like Rhodes, Enfinger has two victories, the last being at Las Vegas last season. Despite winning the regular-season points championship, Enfinger was quickly eliminated from the playoffs. However, as the Truck Series thunders back into action, Enfinger hopes to reset that winless ticker to zero this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway, a place he has won at before.

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About Zach Gillispie

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A lifelong race fan, Zach Gillispie joined Frontstretch fresh out of high school in the summer of 2018 as a news writer. In addition, Zach coordinates Frontstretch's industry-wide weekly power rankings column. Originally from Charlotte, NC, he resides in western PA with his family. He currently attends Grove City College and is a die-hard fan of the Atlanta Braves. Follow Zach on Twitter @gillispie_zach

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2 comments

  1. Avatar

    Geez, why would you include Mears, Nemechek and McMurray, they aren’t even running anymore. That’s just plain stupid.

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