(Photo: NKP)

NASCAR 101: Drivers Still Searching for Wins in All Three NASCAR National Series

Last weekend, Justin Haley quietly accomplished something only 31 other drivers have done since 1995.

With his win at Talladega Superspeedway in the NASCAR Xfinity Series on Saturday, June 19, Haley now has at least one win in all three of NASCAR’s national series — the Cup Series, Xfinity and the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series.

Haley’s road to success began with three Truck Series starts in 2015 that eventually led to three wins in that series in 2018, during which he was a prime championship contender and finished third in points by season’s end.

A surprise Cup win followed last year in the rain-shortened summer event at Daytona International Speedway while Haley was in the midst of his rookie Xfinity season. Now in his second Xfinity season with Kaulig Racing, he stepped one rung down and claimed the trifecta with his Talladega victory, which should establish him as one to watch once the series reaches its playoffs.

Since the Truck Series began in 1995, 32 drivers have won at least one race in all three series, starting with Ken Schrader, who claimed a victory in the inaugural Truck season after also winning in the Cup and Xfinity series beginning in the 1980s. Haley’s the first to do so since Chase Elliott, who joined the club with his first Cup win in 2018.

With Haley’s win, that leaves a variety of still-competing drivers looking to join him.

Who could be next? Here are the current contestants.

Tyler Reddick

Series needed: Cup

For a bit, earlier this week at the postponed-to-Monday Talladega Cup race, it seemed Reddick could jump off this list and join Haley thanks to his first Cup victory. Of the deep 2020 Cup rookie class, he’s been the closest to winning thus far.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Series needed: Truck

Earnhardt has never competed in the Truck Series, something the newly minted Hall of Famer has expressed interest in multiple times over the years — but no dice so far, even when JR Motorsports had a presence in the series.

John Hunter Nemechek

Series needed: Cup

Like his dad below, Nemechek’s on this list — but for a totally separate reason. While Joe doesn’t yet have a Truck victory, John Hunter, in the midst of his rookie Cup season, still needs a win in the sport’s highest reaches.

Joe Nemechek

Series needed: Truck

Nemechek’s part-time Truck Series team could eventually be his avenue to his first Truck win, perhaps at a track such as Daytona or Talladega.

Noah Gragson

Series needed: Cup

Like a handful on this list, Gragson’s only needed win — in the Cup Series — may take a bit, as he has not yet made a start in the series.

Ross Chastain

Series needed: Cup

The underdog-turned-star now has multiple wins under his belt in the Xfinity and Truck series. Still elusive: a Cup win, though he’s yet to run a full-time season in the series in decent equipment.

Ty Dillon

Series needed: Cup

Dillon hasn’t been able to join brother Austin in the three-series category yet. He has an Xfinity win and two Truck victories to his name, but his first Cup top five eluded him until last year.

Johnny Sauter

Series needed: Cup

Veteran Sauter has been part of occasional forays into full-time Cup competition, never scoring a win in the process; he’s been far more successful on his home circuit, the Truck Series.

AJ Allmendinger

Series needed: Truck

Allmendinger, who now runs part time for Kaulig in the Xfinity Series after many full-time Cup seasons, needs a Truck win to complete the challenge. He’ll have to get back into the series to do it, though; his last Truck start came in 2008. Still, it’s not a stretch to imagine Allmendinger running a one-off event such as the series’ road course race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

Chris Buescher

Series needed: Truck

His cousin James was a Truck champion, but Buescher has yet to make a Truck start in what’s been nearly a decade at NASCAR’s highest rungs.

David Ragan

Series needed: Truck

Now a part-timer in the sport, Ragan has attempted but failed thus far this season due to canceled races and entry limits to make a foray into the Truck Series for DGR-Crosley, trying to win in the only series in which he has not yet visited victory lane.

Martin Truex Jr.

Series needed: Truck

The 2017 Cup champion was introduced to NASCAR’s national series in 2001 with an Xfinity start. He’s only driven two Truck races since, and none since 2006.

Austin Cindric

Series needed: Cup

Don’t hold your breath for Cindric to get his first Cup win anytime soon; he’ll first need to make his series debut, which has not yet happened. He’s currently in the midst of his second full-time season with Team Penske in the Xfinity Series after a year split between Penske and Roush Fenway Racing before then, plus time in the Truck Series.

William Byron

Series needed: Cup

Now entering his third full-time Cup season, Byron has not yet been able to replicate the success he saw in lower series, winning four Xfinity races and seven Truck events.

Cole Custer

Series needed: Cup

Custer’s one of the trio of Xfinity and Truck series standouts currently in their rookie Cup season. Cup glory hasn’t yet been attained; his best finish is ninth at Phoenix Raceway earlier this year.

Matt Kenseth

Series needed: Truck

Back in the Cup Series this year as a replacement for the fired Kyle Larson, Kenseth has yet another opportunity to score his first Truck Series win if he so chooses. However, in over two decades in the sport, he’s never made an attempt in the series.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Series needed: Truck

The two-time Xfinity champion also has found Cup success, but he’s never made a Truck race, let alone won one, keeping him on this list.

Jimmie Johnson

Series needed: Truck

One of NASCAR’s greats remains on this list due to a Truck win eluding him. That’s not terribly surprising since he largely skipped the series in his progression upward, first establishing himself as a potential future star in the Xfinity Series. Some of posited that once Johnson retires from full-time Cup competition at the end of this season, Truck starts could be in his future.

Brendan Gaughan

Series needed: Cup

Given that Gaughan’s final Cup start is currently slated for Talladega this fall, his window to join the three-series club is about to close. But if there was any place he was going to do it, a superspeedway would be it.

Alex Bowman

Series needed: Truck

Like Allmendinger above, Bowman’s only needed win is in the Truck Series, and he’s also an infrequent competitor there. Despite driving in the national series since 2012, he has just two Truck starts in that span, the last coming in 2017.

Christopher Bell

Series needed: Cup

Currently in his rookie Cup season, Bell has multiple Xfinity and Truck wins to his name; in fact, of the drivers on this list, he’s one of the most likely to join Haley and the 31 other triple-series victors by the end of his career in terms of those still looking for their first Cup win.

Daniel Suarez

Series needed: Cup

Despite multiple seasons with Joe Gibbs Racing and some close calls, Suarez has not yet made his first trip to Cup’s victory lane.

Chase Briscoe

Series needed: Cup

The young driver’s success in the lower two series thus far indicates he could be a threat to win a Cup race eventually, but Briscoe may not join this club for a while longer; he still has yet to make his Cup debut.

Mike Wallace

Series needed: Cup

Wallace, who’s reportedly set to make his racing return next weekend in the Xfinity Series at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, has multiple wins in the series — as well as in the Truck Series — to his name, but like brother Kenny (and unlike brother Rusty), a Cup win never came.

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Rutherford is the managing editor of Frontstretch, a position he gained in 2015 after serving on the editing staff for two years. At his day job, he's a journalist covering music and rock charts at Billboard. He lives in New York City, but his heart is in Ohio -- you know, like that Hawthorne Heights song.

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