NASCAR: Who has the most wins without a championship?

Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

Denny Hamlin is the winningest non-champion in NASCAR Cup Series history. Which other drivers won a lot of races without ever winning a title?

Yet another driver not named Denny Hamlin was crowned NASCAR Cup Series champion for the first time last Sunday afternoon at Phoenix Raceway, marking the fifth time it has happened in the last seven years alone.

Ryan Blaney, whose career win total is less than 20% of Hamlin’s, won the 2023 title with a runner-up finish in the season finale.

The 2023 season saw Hamlin become the winningest non-champion in Cup Series history, surpassing Junior Johnson. Some would argue that that record was already his when he surpassed Mark Martin in 2020, since Johnson never ran a full schedule during his 14-year Cup career.

Who else won at lot of NASCAR Cup Series races without ever winning a title?

Interestingly, there are only six other drivers on this list with more than half of Hamlin’s win total, and Hamlin is just one win away from making it only four.

Rank – Driver – Wins
1 – Denny Hamlin – 51
2 – Junior Johnson – 50
3 – Mark Martin – 40
4 – Fireball Roberts – 33
5 – Carl Edwards – 28
T6 – Dale Earnhardt Jr. – 26
T6 – Fred Lorenzen – 26
8 – Jim Paschal – 25
9 – Ricky Rudd – 23
T10 – Jeff Burton – 21
T10 – Jack Smith – 21

Unlike the other drivers on this list, Hamlin can still scratch his name off of it. Should he win a championship, Johnson will get the record back and hold it for a very long time, considering the fact that no other active full-time driver has more than 10 wins.

And here’s a list among those active full-time drivers. Note the huge drop-off from P1 to P2 — plus the fact that P2 through the tie for P9 have only combined for 50 wins, one shy of Hamlin’s own mark.

Rank – Driver – Wins
1 – Denny Hamlin – 51
2 – William Byron – 10
3 – Alex Bowman – 7
4 – Christopher Bell – 6
T5 – Tyler Reddick – 5
T5 – Chris Buescher – 5
T7 – Austin Dillon – 4
T7 – Ross Chastain – 4
T9 – Erik Jones – 3
T9 – Ricky Stenhouse Jr. – 3
T9 – A.J. Allmendinger – 3

Ryan Newman, who still competes in select events, owns 18 victories without a title. There are currently five drivers with between 10 and 50 wins who do own at least one championship, with Blaney on the lower end of that spectrum. In fact, only Alan Kulwicki, Red Byron, and Bill Rexford own fewer wins than Blaney among series champions all-time.

Within that 10 to 50-win range, Brad Keselowski leads the way with 35 wins. Kyle Busch is a two-time champion and leads all full-time active drivers in wins with 63. The only other full-time active multi-time champion is Joey Logano, a two-time champion who owns 32 wins. Seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson, an 83-time race winner, still competes in select races.

Alex Bowman is the winningest active driver who has never made it to a Championship 4. Both William Byron and Christopher Bell were in this year’s final round, with the latter becoming the only driver to make it in both 2022 and 2023.

Next. All-time NASCAR Cup Series wins list. dark

Is 2024 finally Denny Hamlin’s year, or will he go 0-for-19 and, potentially adding more victories to the non-champion wins record he eventually hopes to be rid of?