There are lots of sports fans who can debate on whether or not NASCAR is a sport, but once again, I’d like to reiterate that it’s a sport because their stock cars are heavier and more superior and costly than the average Toyota Camry, Chevrolet Impala or Honda Accord. Moreover, they can go at a much faster paceâ€”like up to 100 miles per hour faster.
Anyways, NASCAR drivers have to be comfortable competing in the fast lane in order to succeed in the auto racing industry. But like in other professional sports leagues, that’s not always the case as there are some drivers who totally kill it on the track while some others get affected by negative factors such as bad luck, dominant drivers and nagging inconsistencies. Just look at Dave Blaney, Kevin Lepage and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.â€”all threeÂ males had the potential, but simply didn’t go above and beyond for whatever reason it may be.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to take a closer look and compile an arguable list on 20 NASCAR drivers who were winless or one-hit wonders in their respective careers, but for the record, I’m a NASCAR fan who tries to watch as many races as I can. Of course, I’m not perfect, so if you’d like to insert a driver or two, please feel free to leave a comment in the comments section.
In my opinion, here are the 10 best NASCAR drivers to never win a cup race and 10 fans can’t believe won one.
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Shelburn, Vt., native Kevin Lepage lastÂ raced for NASCAR in 2014.
Unfortunately, Lepage never came close to securing a Cup Series victory in his 11-year career. Lepage wasn’t a legitimate Cup Series contender either.
But if you take a closer look, you’ll notice that Lepage achieved more than he should’ve in the middle of the adversityÂ around him. He recorded two wins, 51 top-10s and four poles in the Xfinity Series. Lepage wasn’t a superstar, but he was certainly an overachiever who raced in a subpar car that resembled the average car on the everyday roads.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is a Memphis, Tenn., native who’s known as the first Mississippian driver to try his hand at a full-time schedule since Lake Speed in 1997.
When Stenhouse Jr. was in a relationship with fellow NASCAR driver Danica Patrick, he was often dubbed as “Danica Patrick’s boyfriend” until his win in the 2017 GEICO 50 in Talledega, Ala. He went on to win the 2017 Coke Zero 400 in Daytona Beach, Fla., which came as a surprise to many NASCAR fans, who were shocked that he won two Cup Series races in 2017.
Well, it’s great news that Stenhouse Jr. wanted to make a name for himself, so you should give the guy some credit.
As great as a driver as he was,Â Canadian driver Ron Fellows never won a Cup Series race in his 16-year NASCAR career. Fellows, however, recorded five top-10s, but was better as an accomplished Canadian driver who competed in theÂ Trans-Am Series, IMSA, and ALMS.
Fellows never competed full-time NASCAR and barely drove on the oval tracks on the track. But if you look at his statistics, you’d see that he was one of the better drivers who has never won a Cup Series race.
Like other Canadians, Fellows supports various charities, which is something to add to his almost perfect resume.
A.J. Allmendinger is a Los Gatos, Calif., native who won the 2014Â Cheez-It 355 at The Glen in Watkins Glen, N.Y.Â That was his only Cup Series win to date.
Allmendinger picked up twoÂ wins in the Xfinity Series, but his best years were in his three-year Champ Car career, where he notched five wins, 14 podiums and two poles.
He was winless in both the IndyCar Series and Truck Series.
That being said, Allmendinger is a decent NASCAR driver, but he tends to run into legal issues, mechanical errors and other problems, on and off the track. You can’t help but feel sorry for this man.
Robert Pressley, an Asheville, N.C., native, was a regular in NASCAR for three decades from the 1980s to 2000s.
Pressley, however, never secured a Cup Series win in his lengthy NASCAR career. He achieved 11 top-10s, which was better than just a few, but success appeared to be really hard to come by. He usually competed in teams with fewer resources and lower funds.
Pressley has moved on to other endeavors, but continues to remain relevant in racing as a promoter for the Kingsport Speedway in Kingsport, TN., where he moved the track to the All-American Series in his first season in 2011.
Since day one, Ryan Blaney had NASCAR in his DNA. The Hartford Township, Ohio, native is the son of former NASCAR driver, Dave Blaney, and the grandson of Modified dirt track star, Lou Blaney.
Ryan’s career got off on the right foot, but he didn’t get to celebrate a Cup Series win until he won the 2017 Axalta presents the Pocono 400 in Long Pond, Pa. He probably isn’t the best driver in your book, but you can definitely see that he has a passion for racing, which is a wonderful thing because not everyone maintains a positive attitude in their NASCAR careers.
Unlike most other NASCAR drivers, Bahama, N.C., native Scott Riggs (born Russell Scott Riggs) was known by his middle name. He last drove the No. 92 Ford in the Truck Series for RBR Enterprises.
Scott was set to become the next great Cup Series driver when he made his NASCAR debut in 2004.
He had several powerhouse seasons in the Truck Series and Xfinity Series, but suffered from a few lackluster years.
His comeback season came in 2006 when he finished in 20th place, despite missing out on the Daytona 500 that year.
Scott’s son, Layne, is a work in progress, but hopefully he’ll become a pro like his dad.
Bobby Hillin Jr. is a Midland, Texas, native who used to compete in the Winston Cup Series and Busch Series. He once held the record of being the youngest driver ever to win a Winston Cup Series race.
Hillin Jr. got his start in auto racing by watching the races of his father’s IndyCar team, Longhorn Racing, compete in IndyCar and USAC races. His lone Cup Series win came in the 1986 Talledega 500 in Talledega, Ala.
After putting the breaks on his NASCAR career, Hillin Jr. restarted his own Busch Series team for the 1998 season, and landed a job as the CEO of T-Rex Engineering & Construction. He, however, will always be remembered for his incredible feats.
Defiance, Ohio, native Sam Hornish Jr. started go-kart racing at age 11 and later made his way into the IndyCar Series and then NASCAR. He has picked up five Xfinity Series wins, but was winless in the Cup Series and Truck Series.
Hornish Jr. last competed part-time in the No. 22 Ford Mustang in the Xfinity Series for Team Penske in 2017. Yet, he continues to be active in the auto racing world. He collects and customizes classic cars like the 1930 Model A Ford, 1951 Mercury and a 1955 Chevrolet Del Ray. Also, his niece, Hope, was a member of NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program in 2016.
Lake Speed is a Jackson, Miss. native who’s a retired NASCAR driver. He won one race overÂ 402 starts in the Winston Cup Series. That race happened to be the 1988 TranSouth 500 in Darlington, S.C.
Despite leaving NASCAR behind, Speed still drives karts from time to time. Since 2016, he has been an avid follower of the RHPK Kart Series.
In addition, Speed was inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in July 2010.Â Maybe Memphis, Tenn., native Ricky Stenhouse Jr., a full-time driver in the No. 17 Ford Fusion for Roush Fenway Racing, willÂ take strides towardsÂ a similar path in the future.
Okay, Peachtree City, Ga., native Reed Sorenson is still competing part-time in the No. 55 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 in the Cup Series for Premium Motorsports, but he’s an honorable mention due to the really disappointing fact that he has never won a Cup Series race so far.
When Sorenson first showed up in NASCAR in 2004, he was dubbed as the best thing since sliced bread. While that’s true to a certain extent, as he won four races and got 86 top-10s and two poles in the Xfinity Series, his results neverÂ topped the chartsÂ and blew everyone away in the United States.
Johnny Rutherford III, also known as “Lone Star JR,” hails from Coffeyville, Ks.
Rutherford III is a retired NASCAR driver. He’s known as one of 10 drivers to have won the Indianapolis 500 race at least three times with victories in 1974, 1976 and 1980. He’s also known as a former Cup Series winner of the 1963 Daytona Qualified #2 in Daytona, Fla. In addition, he made the top-10 on five different occasions.
Rutherford III may not have been the greatest Cup Series driver, but at least he could say that he wasn’t the worst Cup Series driver as opposed to recent drivers like, say, Danica Patrick.
Let’s face it, Jeff Green is the kind of driver that most, if not all, of us assumed would’ve retired from NASCAR years ago. But he somehow manages to stick around the track.
Green, an Owensboro, Ky., native, currently competes part-time in the Nos. 38 and 93 Chevrolet Camaro in the Xfinity Series for RSS Racing.
Green, had six top-10 finishes and two poles in the Cup Series, but in terms of statistics, that won’t leave a lasting impression on NASCAR fans as he remains a winless man up to this day.
Personally,Â I think that his auto racing career should’ve ended a long time ago, but that’s just me.
The late Shorty Rollins (1929-1998) was born and raised in Granville, Texas. He was best known as the first official NASCAR Rookie of the Year.
Rollins got his start in auto racing in Corpus Christi, Texas. Due to his tremendous success, he traveled to Fayetteville, N.C. to compete in the Grand National (now Sprint Cup). 1958 was his rookie year and he killed it with a win at the Stateline Speedway in Busti, N.Y. As a whole, he ran 43 races in three seasons and earned a total of $17,018.
Rollins left NASCAR in 1960 to establish Hurricane Fence Industries with his wife, Mozelle, in Pensacola, Fla. He passed away at the age of 69.
If you’re a diehard NASCAR fan, you’ll know all about Wally Dallenbach Jr.
Dallenbach Jr. spent 10 seasons as a NASCAR driver before landing a job as a NASCAR analyst and commentator on TNT. The Basalt, Colo., native first competed in the Winston Cup series and later left his home state to kick off a racing career in North Carolina. In 1984, he won Rookie of the Year and followed up with two Trans-Am championships.
However, Dallenbach Jr.’s transition to NASCAR was tough to say the least. He didn’t make it to the top 10 until his third season. Also, it’s worth noting that he never picked up a Cup Series win nor an Xfinity Series win or even a Truck Series win. Aw, poor guy.
The late Bill Rexford (1927-1994) was a NASCAR driver who competed in the 1950s. He made a name for himself in the auto racing world driving stock cars in his hometown of Conewango Valley, N.Y.
Rexford’s first and only win came in 1950 when he won a career race at Canfield Speedway in Canfield Township, Ohio. That win came after his controversial win in Hillsboro, N.C.
Right now, Rexford remains the youngest NASCAR driver to have won a championship in what has become the Monster Energy Cup Series. He only had one Grand National win, but he wasn’t included in the list of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998. Still, we should recognize his efforts in the good old days of this sport.
If you don’t care about Dave Blaney, then that’s kind of sad because the Hartford Township, Ohio, native was such a lovable driver in his NASCAR career.
Even if you weren’t a fan of Dave, you’ll likely admit that you wished that he’d manage to pull off an upset in the Cup Series. His only win was an Xfinity Series race and that came in the 2006 Dollar General 300 in Charlotte, N.C.
Dave pretty much bounced around lesser known teams during his Cup Series years, but at least he did what he lovedâ€”racing.Â His son, Ryan, has won one Cup Series race thus far. Hopefully, Ryan will win more of those races.
Richard Brickhouse is a retired NASCAR driver who was born and raised in Rocky Point, N.C. He’s best known for winning the inaugural Talladega 500 in Talladega, Ala., in 1969 just days after a high-profile boycott of NASCAR for drivers’ concerns of tire wear with the high rate of speeds at the track.
The inaugural Talladega 500 was Brickhouse’s only Cup Series win. Brickhouse added 13 top-10s to his auto racing resume, but that was it. He announced his retirement in 1982.
In case you didn’t know, Brickhouse was often included in the Guinness Book of World Records for fastest time on a closed circuit.
Todd Bodine is one of those drivers that leaves NASCAR fans scratching their heads. Like, how was this guy not more successful than he was? He usually raced for lesser known teams with smaller budgets, but he still managed to have multiple quality top-10 finishes at the end of each season.
Bodine, a Chemung, N.Y., native was an overachiever regardless of his equipment situation.
Though, he only spent five seasons in the Cup Series, where he achieved 21 top-10 finishes and five poles. Unfortunately, he never won a race in the Cup Series, despite being a dominant driver in the series’ history.
The late Jack White (1920-1998) was a native of Lockport, N.Y., which is a city located 30 miles north of Buffalo, N.Y.
Back in the day, White raced in the NASCAR Grand National Division (now the Sprint Cup Series) and won one race at Hamburg Speedway in the series’ inaugural season in 1949. White raced in 12 races over a three-year span with his first race being the 1949 Race No. 5 in Hamburg and his last race being the 1951 Race No. 22 in Morristown.
Despite not being a powerful force, White was a driver for the old-school and new age fans to keep in their memories.
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