Larson heads 2016 list of Cup drivers yet to reach Victory Lane

When one takes a look at the rising stars of NASCAR, the future is definitely bright.

And when taking a look at the Sprint Cup field for 2016, one will see a few new (but likely familiar) names.

Plenty of new talent in 2016 Sprint Cup field

The big-name arrival is Chase Elliott, the 2014 NXS champion and the successor to Jeff Gordon in the famous No. 24. Then there's Ryan Blaney, who joins the legendary Wood Brothers team in their full-time return to the pinnacle of stock car racing. The two leading ROTY contenders both have famous fathers in the world of motorsport: Awesome Bill from Dawsonville and the Buckeye Bullet.

Other rookies joining the Sprint Cup ranks this year include reigning Xfinity Series champ Chris Buescher (Front Row Motorsports), Brian Scott (Richard Petty Motorsports), and Jeffrey Earnhardt (Go FAS Racing), whose last name needs no further introduction.

They won't be the only drivers fighting to become the next Sprint Cup race winner. In fact, there will be 14 drivers running at least 30 of the 36-race calendar who have yet to earn their first win, including the familiar likes Danica Patrick, Austin Dillon and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 

Larson still searching for that first win

But one name stands out above the usual suspects and the stellar rookie class -- Kyle Larson. It's hard to believe the immensely talented racer has yet to win a Cup race as the 23-year-old has flirted with Victory Lane on several occasions over the past two seasons. The 2015 finale at Homestead marks his most recent close-call.

His 169 laps led is more than any other winless driver, while the ten top-five finishes he's amassed suggest he's more than capable of delivering the results.

When asked by Motorsport.com whether he felt he would get that elusive maiden win in 2016, Larson said: "I hope so."

"I felt like we could have gotten to Victory Lane two years ago in 2014 and a couple times last year, but we just haven't been able to close it.

"Hopefully this year, we can put a whole race together and get a couple wins."

The arrival of the updated aero package breathes new life into his pursuit for the checkered flag, following a rather dull sophomore season. "I felt like I ran somewhat better races at Kentucky and Darlington (where the package was tested in 2015) so I'd like to think we'd run better, but you don't really know until we get out there," he admitted.

As for a possible future that doesn't involve Chip Ganassi Racing, Larson asserts that he isn't going anywhere.

"I'm locked up with Chip and I love racing for Chip. That's just how it goes."

The Sprint Cup Series is long overdue for a new face in the winner's circle with the most recent first-time winner coming back in August of 2014 when A.J. Allmendinger emerged victorious in a thriller of a finish at Watkins Glen. 

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Kyle Larson
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing
Article type Preview