Have Any NASCAR Drivers Won the Cup Series Title Without Winning a Race?

Published 01/07/2022, 4:45 AM EST
HOMESTEAD, FL – NOVEMBER 18: Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Chevrolet, poses with the championship trophy after winning the 2011 Series Championship in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

NASCAR has a long history in American Motorsports and has crowned multiple champions. Obviously, most of them have won races on their way to the title. However, is it possible for drivers to win the title without winning a single race? To quote The Princess Bride, ‘it’s inconceivable!’.

Interestingly enough, such a situation has arisen many times in at least two NASCAR tiers in the history of the sport.

Admittedly, it has not happened in the Cup Series yet, though four drivers came close to it. In fact, it happened as early as 1950, when Bill Rexford triumphed at the Canfield Speedway. A decade later, it was Ned Jarrett, who achieved this feat when he won the Southland 200 at the Raleigh Speedway.

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In 1973, Benny Parsons reached Victory Lane at the Bristol Motor Speedway, and nowhere else, and still won the title. The most recent instance of this happening was when Matt Kenseth triumphed at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Despite not winning any other races, the Roush Racing driver clinched the Cup Series title. In the Xfinity Series in 2021, Daniel Hemric has now joined that list.

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How many NASCAR drivers won the title without winning a race?

On paper, this seems like an utterly impossible scenario. Admittedly, this has never occurred in the Cup Series, though the same cannot be said for the Xfinity and Truck Series. In 2019, Matt Crafton managed to win the Truck Series crown, even though he had not reached Victory Lane all year.

TALLADEGA, AL – OCTOBER 22: Daniel Hemric, driver of the #19 DrawTite Ford, stands on the grid prior to qualifying for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series fred’s 250 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 22, 2016 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo by Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)

On another interesting note, Austin Dillon won the 2013 Xfinity Series champion and was not a race winner during that season. Daniel Hemric looked like he would also join Dillon as the owner of this unique statistic. However, his win at the Phoenix Raceway during the Xfinity finale stopped that train of thought. Of course, he was glad to finally have the monkey off his back; though this would have been an incredible stat that very few could break.

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Dhruv George

13084 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Motorsports author for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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