#StandWithSmoke ... In Victory Lane?
Jimmie Johnson, at long last, won a race during the 2014 season. His fourth Coca-Cola 600 victory made it 10 winners in the first 12 races, the most at this juncture since 2003.
The crazy part: The list of those drivers who have NOT won in 2014. It's long, and distinguished. Chief among is three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart, winner of last year's race at Dover International Speedway -- site of Sunday's FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks (1 p.m. ET on FOX).
“I remember thinking that if someone had told me that we were going to win, I would’ve told them they were crazy," Stewart said of the victory. "We just didn’t have the car to win the race, but we had great pit strategy at the end. We had a car that was solid, but we just never could get the track position to get in clean air. We changed only two tires on that last stop to get up front. The car felt a lot better up there and it didn’t seem like the guys who took four tires had a huge advantage taking off. When we noticed we were catching the leaders, we kind of got going on the bottom and made up even more time. It was just a big win for us and really gave us some momentum for the next few races.”
Also included on that unfortunate list is Matt Kenseth. Kenseth, the 2003 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion and the championship runner-up last year to Johnson, won a series-high seven races last season and has been on the verge of victory plenty this this season - his nine top 10s this year are tied for the series lead.
A few others still awaiting a first win:
• Brian Vickers: The 2003 NASCAR Nationwide series champion is, on the upside, eighth in points.
• Ryan Newman: Newman is 10th in points, with no top-five finishes.
• Greg Biffle: He won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series title in 2000, the NASCAR Nationwide Series title in 2002 and was the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship runner-up in 2005. But he’s winless and in 11th place points-wise, with four top 10s and two top fives.
• Kasey Kahne: Kahne is 17th in points with only one top five, surprising for a driver with 16 career victories.
• Clint Bowyer: The 2008 NASCAR Nationwide series champion and the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup championship runner-up is 20th in points.
• Jamie McMurray: His emotional – and financially rewarding – victory in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race notwithstanding, he needs a points-paying series victory. McMurray is 23rd in points.
• Martin Truex Jr.: The NASCAR Nationwide champion in 2004 and ’05 is way back in 26th place, still looking not only for a victory but his first top-five finish of the year.