In 2011, 17 different Sprint Cup regulars won a race, with three of them (Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch) accounting for more than a third of the season's races by themselves. That leaves an awful lot of guys who didn't reach the checkered flag first. Some of them probably never really expected to get there; others had it snagged right out from under them at the last instant. Let's take a look at which drivers most desperately need a win in 2012.
1. Joey Logano. What? Ranking someone ahead of Earnhardt? Absolutely. No driver in NASCAR faces more pressure to hang onto his ride than Logano right now. Junior could lose for the next three years straight and still have his seat.
2. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Come on. You know about the 129-race losing streak. What more do we need to say? Everything is in place for him to win. Of course, we've said that before.
3. Martin Truex Jr. He's got an even longer losing streak than Junior, one that dates back to 2007. In a contract year, it's high time for him to level up.
4. Greg Biffle. While his Roush brethren are tearing up the standings, he hasn't quite kept pace. Time for The Biff to rejoin the ranks of the Chasers.
5. Juan Pablo Montoya. He had a brief stint of respectability a couple years back, but team disarray and unexplainable slides have hurt his standing. He needs to prove he's as good as he thinks he is.
6. AJ Allmendinger. There'll be some growing pains with a new team, but Allmendinger has all the pieces in place to start capitalizing on all the promise he's shown.
7. Jeff Burton. After a horrendous early 2011, Burton started turning his year around, and needs to prove that he just hit a rough patch, not that his days are numbered.
8. Jamie McMurray. Like his teammate Montoya, McMurray has to reassert himself; he's got Chase-level talent, but it seems to come and go with the tide.
9. David Reutimann. Ushered to the sidelines because of his age, Reutimann could bolster his rep with a victory for his new team.
10. Bobby Labonte. One more win for the old champion would be a fine way to bookend a career.
Your turn. Which Sprint Cup regular most desperately needs a win, and which of the guys above will win one this year?
- Kevin Harvick
- Joey Logano
- Tony Stewart
- Juan Pablo Montoya