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NASCAR DOUBLES DOWN AT MARTINSVILLE DUE TO…SNOW
This past weekend at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia, NASCAR was forced to run a Camping World Truck Series and Monster Energy Cup Series doubleheader on Monday. The reason? Snow. It was the first time since 1993 that snow forced NASCAR to run its Sunday race on a Monday.
It also postponed Clint Bowyer’s drama for one extra day.
It had been nearly 2,000 days since Bowyer last visited Victory Lane in the Cup Series. October 13, 2012 at Charlotte Motor Speedway to be exact. So what was one extra day to wait and see one of the sport’s most likeable drivers return to Victory Lane.
His win at Martinsville on Monday ended a 190-race winless streak, the third longest in NASCAR history. Bill Elliott (227 races) and Martin Truex Jr. (219) both had longer such streaks that they eventually ended. The longest current streaks belong to Paul Menard (238), David Ragan (176), Trevor Bayne (170), Jamie McMurray (154), A.J. Allmendinger (128) and Aric Almirola (125).
With Texas Motor Speedway next up on the calendar, these six drivers would like nothing better than to do what Bowyer did on Monday in Martinsville. Here’s a look at five drivers that have ended prolonged winless streaks at the TMS:
Jeff Gordon, 47 races: It’s hard to believe that Gordon ever sustained a lengthy winless streak during his illustrious Hall of Fame career. But the four-time Cup Series champion failed to find Victory Lane in 2008 and 2010 and visited their just once in 2009. That one win came at Texas Motor Speedway in the April 5 Samsung 500. Gordon led 105 laps and beat teammate Jimmie Johnson to the checkered flag, halting his winless skid at 47 races.
Greg Biffle, 49 races: The native of Vancouver, Wash., won 19 times during a productive career in the Cup Series. A six-win season in 2005 highlight the pilot’s list of accomplishments, but a dry spell that began in the final third of the 2010 season carried all the way into the first third of the 2012 season. Biffle stopped the winless streak at 49 races with victory in the April 14 Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, beating Jimmie Johnson to checkered flag by more than three seconds.
Matt Kenseth, 76 races: Two races into the 2009 season, Kenseth looked like he might go on to win all 36 races. Victories in the Daytona 500 and the following week in Fontana, Calif., got him off to a red-hot start. Who would have figured his next Victory Lane celebration wouldn’t come for more than two years? Kenseth dominated the Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2011, leading 169 laps and leaving second-place Clint Bowyer nearly 10 seconds behind in second.
Jeff Burton, 95 races: Burton will certainly go down in history as one of the best drivers never to win a championship. With 21 wins in the Cup Series, including six wins alone in 1999, Burton was no stranger to Victory Lane in the first half of his career. It did, however, take the Virginia native nearly 100 races to find it for the first time. On April 6, 1997, Texas Motor Speedway opened its track to NASCAR Cup Series racing for the first time and it was Burton who put his car in Victory Lane for not only the first time in track history, but for the first time in his career.
Elliott Sadler, 108 races: Sadler has found his comfort zone as one of the top drivers in the NASCAR xfinity Series. But the 2004 season was a breakout season for him, setting career-highs in wins (two), top-fives (eight) and top-10s (14) in the Cup Series. The first of those two wins came on April 4 at Texas Motor Speedway in the Samsung / Radio Shack 500. Elliott beat Kasey Kahne to the finish line by .028 seconds, and in the process ended a 108-race winless streak, dating back to his first win of his career in March of 2001.