March 28, 2014 — photo courtesy — RIDGEWAY, VA — Five different drivers have won the first five races of the 2014 season. That happened last year, too.
But what hasn’t happened in the 10-year history of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup – six different winners in the first six races.
The way the beginning of this season has unfolded, a record seems ready-made. Here are the last six winners at Martinsville: Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson (twice), Ryan Newman, Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin. Of that group, only Kevin Harvick has won a race thus far in ‘14.
That suggests one thing: Get ready for 6-for-6.
And the really unique part of all this: If the winner comes from, say, Michael Waltrip Racing or Richard Childress Racing … it’ll also be six different winning TEAMS in the first six races.
And for the record, the record for most unique winners to start a season: 10 in 2000.
Statistically, Johnson, Gordon and Hamlin look like the obvious choices to extend the streak of different winners to start the 2014 season. But Matt Kenseth might be the most intriguing candidate.
During his decade-plus career with Roush Fenway Racing, Kenseth’s best finish at Martinsville was fifth. He led a combined 73 laps during that span. But last year alone, with new team Joe Gibbs Racing, Kenseth led a total of 298 laps – and finished second in the October Martinsville race.
Kenseth, after winning a series-high seven races in 2013, has a best finish of fourth this season (last Sunday).
The journey for six takes the green flag Sunday at Martinsville at 1 PM Eastern with the running of the STP 500 live on FOX.