NASCAR America: Some of sport’s top names still in search of a win this year

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Combined, they won half of the Cup races last season, but those same nine drivers remain winless this season as the series heads to Darlington Raceway for Sunday’s Southern 500.

Kyle Larson, Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman and Ryan Blaney continue to search for their first win of the year with less than three months left in the season.

One name stands out in that list to Steve Letarte.

“He’s won 83 races, seven championships in multiple different formats and at every type of race track you can imagine, with different styles of race cars, with different styles of tires, with different rule packages, so, yes, Jimmie Johnson, when I look at this list, has surprised me the most just because of the career-long resume he brings to this list,” Letarte said on Tuesday’s NASCAR America.

It’s a sign of how dominant the Big 3 — Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. — has been this year. Harvick, Busch and Truex have combined to win 17 of the 24 points races this season.

Of those nine who won races last year but have yet to do so this season, only three have won the Southern 500 at Darlington — Johnson (2004, ’12), Hamlin (2010, ’17) and Kenseth (2013).

“It’s just like the weirdest thing to me is that we’re so far into the season and we’re still talking about these drivers in terms of not getting to Victory Lane,” Parker Kligerman said on NASCAR America. “I just find it odd. When I was looking at these numbers, I was almost started.”

For more on what Letarte, Kligerman and Landon Cassill said about this group, check out the video above.

Here’s a look at how those drivers who won last year have fared this year with two races left in the regular season:

Kyle Larson

2017 wins: 4

2018 best finish: 2nd (Auto Club, Bristol I, Pocono I, Chicagoland, Bristol II)

2017 points finish: 8th

2018 points standing: 9th

2017 laps led: 1,352

2018 laps led: 382

2017 top 10s: 20

2018 top 10s: 13

 

Brad Keselowski

2017 wins: 3

2018 best finish: 2nd (Atlanta, Michigan II)

2017 points finish: 4th

2018 points standing: 8th

2017 laps led: 778

2018 laps led: 323

2017 top 10s: 21

2018 top 10s: 12

 

Jimmie Johnson

2017 wins: 3

2018 best finish: 3rd (Bristol I)

2017 points finish: 10th

2018 points standing: 14th

2017 laps led: 217

2018 laps led: 29

2017 top 10s: 11

2018 top 10s: 8

 

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

2017 wins: 2

2018 best finish: 4th (Bristol I)

2017 points finish: 13th

2018 points standing: 16th

2017 laps led: 56

2018 laps led: 121

2017 top 10s: 9

2018 top 10s: 3

 

Denny Hamlin

2017 wins: 2

2018 best finish: 3rd (Daytona 500, Richmond, Coca-Cola 600)

2017 points finish: 6th

2018 points standing: 10th

2017 laps led: 710

2018 laps led: 259

2017 top 10s: 22

2018 top 10s: 12

 

Matt Kenseth

2017 wins: 1

2018 best finish: 13th (Pocono I)

2017 points finish: 7th

2018 points standing: 34th

2017 laps led: 421

2018 laps led: 0

2017 top 10s: 18

2018 top 10s: 0

 

Kasey Kahne

2017 wins: 1

2018 best finish: 4th (Daytona II)

2017 points finish: 15th

2018 points standing: 27th

2017 laps led: 41

2018 laps led: 30

2017 top 10s: 6

2018 top 10s: 1

 

Ryan Newman

2017 wins: 1

2018 best finish: 6th (New Hampshire)

2017 points finish: 16th

2018 points standing: 17th

2017 laps led: 46

2018 laps led: 57

2017 top 10s: 13

2018 top 10s: 6

 

Ryan Blaney

2017 wins: 1

2018 best finish: 2nd (Kentucky)

2017 points finish: 9th

2018 points standing: 7th

2017 laps led: 301

2018 laps led: 585

2017 top 10s: 14

2018 top 10s: 12