AJ Allmendinger has been chasing his elusive first Sprint Cup Series win since his debut in 2007, and this weekend's Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway might be the very race he'll get it at. These five drivers all got their first wins at the 600 - three went on to become champions, and the other two have had mixed results in their careers. Will these drivers be joined by Allmendinger - or another first-time winner - following the race on Sunday, May 27?
Jeff Gordon (1994) - it's hard to believe that this November will mark the 20th anniversary of Gordon's first Cup Series race, at the season-ending Hooters 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Gordon got his first win in his sophomore season in the Cup Series, taking the 600 from the pole position. In 1995, Gordon won the first of four Cup Series titles (1997, 1998 and 2001 as well).
Bobby Labonte (1995) - the younger Labonte (older brother Terry was a two-time Cup Series champ) made two starts in 1991, but didn't make another appearance in the Cup Series until running full-time in 1993. Labonte broke out in 1995, his first season with Joe Gibbs Racing, and won the Coca Cola 600 from the outside pole, the first of three wins that season. Labonte won the Cup Series title in 2000.
Matt Kenseth (2000) - Kenseth won the Coca Cola 600 in just his 18th Cup Series start, in his rookie season. In 2003, Kenseth would win the Cup Series championship; he didn't win again at Charlotte Motor Speedway until last season's fall race.
Casey Mears (2007) - Mears has become a journeyman in the Cup Series, racing for Chip Ganassi, Hendrick Motorsports, Richard Childress, Keyed-Up Motorsports, Tommy Baldwin, Red Bull, and Germain Racing since his Cup Series debut in 2003. He found victory lane for the first and only time in his career as a member of Hendrick Motorsports.
David Reutimann (2009) - Reutimann won his first race as a member of Michael Waltrip Racing, the team he made his debut with in 2005 at the fall race in Charlotte. The win was historic on many counts: he became the 20th driver to win in all three major NASCAR series (Cup, Nationwide and Trucks), the first driver to win with the #00 and the first driver to win a race without leading a green-flag lap. He won again in Chicago the following year.
Paula is a long-time NASCAR fan who also covers the sport for Examiner.com and Skirts & Scuffs.
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