As the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season approaches, fans are waiting for different drivers to get their first career win. A total of 11 full-time Cup Series drivers come into 2024 without a victory including Josh Berry, Corey LaJoie, Noah Gragson, Harrison Burton, Daniel Hemric, Todd Gilliland, Ryan Preece, John Hunter Nemechek, Ty Gibbs, Zane Smith, and Carson Hocevar. Based on the current driver’s first career wins, when should these drivers be due for their first career win?
- Winning races is vital to a NASCAR Cup Series driver continuing their career, particularly with a top team. If drivers do not win often enough, they are frequently given the boot.
- While winning races is expected of drivers eventually, winning a race early in their career is tough. The goal of this is to find out when is the average time that a driver finds their first career win.
- Fans are always excited to see drivers winning races for the first time. It’s a great storyline that follows many drivers.
We broke down the numbers regarding every single Cup Series driver’s first career win, including what number of starts it came, how many seasons they had competed in, and how many full-time seasons they competed in.
Using these averages, the 22 drivers generally find their first career win around 84 races into their career, which is just over two seasons in. In terms of seasons competed in, drivers usually find their first career win between their second or their third full-time season.
A total of 15 current full-time Cup Series drivers won a race within their first 3 seasons, with 11 winning a race by their second season. This includes 5 in their first full-time season, 6 in year two, and 4 by year three. It’s also interesting to note that no driver won a race any later than their 5th full-time season, and only two drivers won their first race in a part-time effort.
The sweet spot for drivers seems to be between seasons 1-3 with a few exceptions.
Josh Berry, Carson Hocevar, and Zane Smith are all entering their first full-time season, meaning they are not on the hot seat to win their first race. Noah Gragson, John Hunter Nemechek, and Daniel Hemric are each entering their 2nd attempt at a full-time season, but their first with a new team. These drivers are likely not on the hot seat to win.
Drivers entering their second and third seasons are under more pressure. Todd Gilliland and Ty Gibbs are entering their second full-time season. For Gibbs particularly, the expectation is to win a race hopefully sometime this season. Harrison Burton is entering his third full-time season, and he is under major pressure to perform.
Corey LaJoie and Ryan Preece are entering their 6th and 5th full-time seasons respectively. They are seemingly overdue for a win, but, they drove in subpar equipment for the early parts of their career.
Either way, the pressure to win and to win early is immense. Those who stay usually find a way to win within their first three full-time seasons, so, these drivers without a win have that bar to reach.