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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup

Few Drivers Have Won in NASCAR Playoffs

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Since NASCAR changed how it determines a champion in 2004, a total of 134 races have been run in what are now the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs. And those playoff races are very, very tough to win.

How tough?

Well, in 134 Cup playoff races, just 23 different drivers have found Victory Lane. In the first four playoff races of 2017, no one new has added his name to the list.

Here are all 23 drivers who’ve won Cup playoff races and where they rank by number of victories. 

  1. Joe Nemechek, 1

For his career, Nemechek won four Cup races, the final one coming in the playoffs at Kansas in 2004.

  1. Dale Jarrett, 1

A NASCAR Hall of Fame member and a past Cup champion, Jarrett scored his 32nd and final series race win at Talladega in 2005.

  1. Brian Vickers, 1

On the final lap of the 2006 playoff race at Talladega, Vickers punted Jimmie Johnson into leader Dale Earnhardt Jr., sending both spinning as Vickers scored his first career Cup victory.

  1. Ryan Newman, 2

In 2004-05, the first two years of the playoffs, Newman won a single playoff race each season.

  1. Mark Martin, 2

While driving for Rick Hendrick in 2009, Martin won five races, including the playoff opener at New Hampshire. That turned out to be the final victory in his NASCAR Hall of Fame career.

  1. Kasey Kahne, 2

In 2011, Kahne won a playoff race at Phoenix while driving a Toyota for Red Bull.

  1. Jeff Burton, 2

The final Cup victory of Burton’s career came in the playoff race at Charlotte in 2008.

  1. Kurt Busch, 3

In 2004, Busch won the very first Cup playoff race at New Hampshire and went on to win the first championship as well.

  1. Jamie McMurray, 3

McMurray’s last Cup race victory came way back in 2013, at a playoff race at Talladega. That was 138 races ago.

  1. Martin Truex Jr., 4

Last year, Truex won playoff races at Chicagoland and Dover, and this year, he won the Cup regular-season championship in his Furniture Row Racing Toyota, as well as playoff races at Chicagoland and Charlotte. Truex remains the championship favorite.

  1. Kyle Busch, 4

Prior to this season, Busch had only won two playoff races in the first 13 years since NASCAR launched this system in 2004. But he’s already won this year at New Hampshire and Dover. And he could well win more this year.

  1. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 4

NASCAR’s 14-time most popular driver unfortunately will not be in the playoffs this year. One of his most prized playoff wins was at Martinsville in 2014.

  1. Clint Bowyer, 5

Five of Bowyer’s eight career Cup victories came in playoff races. But he came up a little short of making the title battle this year.

  1. Brad Keselowski, 5

Playoff wins at Chicago and Dover helped propel Keselowski to a Cup championship in 2012, the first and so far only Cup title for Team Penske.

  1. Matt Kenseth, 7

The last driver to win a championship before NASCAR created the playoffs in 2004, Kenseth also finished second to Jimmie Johnson in 2013.

  1. Joey Logano, 7

Out of the playoffs this season, Logano famously won three playoff races in a row two years ago.

  1. Jeff Gordon, 7

The four-time Cup champion scored his memorable and emotional final career Cup victory at Martinsville in 2015.

  1. Greg Biffle, 7

In 2004-06, the first three years of the NASCAR playoffs, Biffle won the season-ending race at Homestead every time.

  1. Denny Hamlin, 7

In 2010, Hamlin won playoff races at Martinsville and Texas, and finished 2nd in the championship.

  1. Carl Edwards, 9

Is Edwards the best driver of his generation to never win a championship? That argument could be made. Edwards has the most playoff wins of any driver who’s never won a Cup championship.

  1. Tony Stewart, 11

In his amazing 2011 championship run, Stewart went winless in the Cup regular season and then won five of the 10 playoff races.

  1. Kevin Harvick, 11

In 2014, Harvick had to win both of the final two races to win the championship, and he did just that, taking victories at Phoenix and Homestead.

  1. Jimmie Johnson, 29

This is amazing. Johnson has won 22.3 percent of the 130 Cup playoff races run since 2004. That’s more than double his nearest competitor. No wonder he has seven championships.

All article photos courtesy of Nigel Kinrade Photography © 2017 

Tom Jensen

Tom Jensen is a veteran motorsports journalist. He spent 13 years with, where he was Digital Content Manager. Previously, he was executive editor of NASCAR Scene and managing editor of National Speed Sport News. Jensen served as the president of the National Motorsports Press Association and is the group’s former Writer of the Year.