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TIGER WOODS’ FIRST WIN IN MORE THAN FIVE YEARS HAS TMS FEELING NOSTALGIC
Last Sunday, Tiger Woods held up his arms in victory for the first time in more than five years. It was the kind of win that captured the attention of sports fans around the globe.
Woods’ win, his first since August of 2013, seems like a long time – 1,876 days – between wins for one of the greatest golfers of all time. For many of us here at Texas Motor Speedway, it has us thinking about some of the longest streaks between wins in NASCAR history.
Here’s a look at drivers who had to wait more than 1,000 days before returning to victory lane in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series:
Elliott Sadler – 1,106 days
The only driver to break their streak at Texas Motor Speedway, Sadler certainly had a flair for the dramatic, ending his 109-race winless streak by holding off Kasey Kahne by .028 seconds on April 4, 2004. It still stands as the closest Cup Series finish in TMS history.
Juan Pablo Montoya – 1,141 days
It took a while to complete the road course sweep, but on Aug. 8, 2010, Montoya added a victory at Watkins Glen to his resume, more than three years after his win at Sonoma Raceway.
Kevin Harvick – 1,162 days
Given how frequently Happy Harvick visits victory lane these days, it’s hard to believe there was ever a time that he went an extended period without winning. But on April 25, 2010, Harvick returned to the winner’s circle, ending a 116-race drought at Talladega Superspeedway.
Morgan Shepherd – 1,708 days
The second-longest drought between races in Shepherd’s career actually lasted less days than his first. It did, however, last more races. This one lasted 134 races and ended on Nov. 18, 1990 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Ryan Newman – 1,330 days
Surviving a green-white-checkered overtime finish from a hard-charging Kyle Larson, Newman ended a 128-race drought on March 19, 2017 at ISM Raceway in Phoenix.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. – 1,463 days
Nearly four years after capturing his first win for Hendrick Motorsports with a victory at Michigan International Speedway, the sport’s most popular driver returned to victory lane. Earnhardt Jr. was dominant, too, leading 95 laps at Michigan ending a span of 144 starts without a win on June 17, 2012.
Jeremy Mayfield – 1,545 days
With Dale Earnhardt Jr. hot on his heels, Mayfield pulled away over the final eight laps on Sept. 11, 2004, at Richmond International Raceway to win by nearly five seconds – his first victory in 143 races.
Ward Burton – 1,610 days
With a cast of Hall of Famers in tow, Burton ended a 132-race drought on March 19, 2000 at Darlington Raceway. Dale Jarrett, Dale Earnhardt Sr., Tony Stewart and his brother, Jeff Burton, rounded out the top-five, respectively.
Terry Labonte – 1,617 days
The native of Corpus Christi, Texas, snapped a 157-race drought that began after a win at Texas Motor Speedway in March of 1999 with a win at Darlington Raceway on Aug. 31, 2003. It was the final victory of a storied career that saw Labonte hang up his gloves for good in 2014.
Terry Labonte – 1,722 days
North Wilkesboro Speedway was the site of Labonte’s streak-ending victory. Leading the final 29 laps, Labonte ended a run of 136 starts without a win when he pulled his No. 5 Kellogg’s Chevrolet into victory lane on April 17, 1994.
Jamie McMurray – 1,728 days
The wins, albeit only a few, on McMurray’s resume are certainly impressive, beginning with victory at Charlotte Motor Speedway in only his second-career start. It would be more than four-and-half-years before he’d get his second, but on July 7, 2007, McMurray ended a 166-race drought with a win at Daytona International Speedway.
Jeff Burton – 1,792 days
Dover International Speedway was the site of Burton’s streak-ending victory. Burton’s win was an impressive one, too, as he held off “Concrete Carl” Edwards for a win on Sept. 24, 2006, ending a 176-winless streak.
Sterling Marlin – 1,870 days
On Aug. 19, 2001, Marlin stopped a sting of 171 races sans victory at Michigan International Speedway.
Dave Marcis – 1,932 days
After a three-win season in 1976, it’s hard to believe that it took more than five years for the native of Wausau, Wisc., to take the checkers again. But on Feb. 21, 1982, he did just that, ending a 138-race drought with a win at Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway.
Clint Bowyer – 1,990 days
The most recent drought-buster, Bowyer put a stop to nearly 2,000 days of heartbreak with a dominant victory at Martinsville Speedway on March 26 earlier this year. Bowyer led 215 laps, ending a 190-race drought; his previous win came nearly five-and-a-half years prior at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Martin Truex Jr. – 2,211 days
With 16 wins over the last three seasons, it’s hard to believe Truex Jr. ever went through any sort of drought. But on June 23, 2013, the Maryetta, N.J., native pulled away from Jeff Gordon by nearly 10 seconds to win at Sonoma Raceway. The victory ended a 219-race winless streak for the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion.
Bill Elliott – 2,625 days
The sport’s most popular driver of all-time ended a seven-year winless drought on Nov. 11, 2001 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. A span of 227 races, Elliott grabbed the lead with five laps to go and held off Michael Waltrip to bring the masses to a roar in South Florida.