The list of drivers to never win a Cup Championship is a very long one.
But who's the best of the best? I've compiled all of my racing knowledge and their numbers and took the 10 best.
But still, there's always a few that don't make the list that deserve a mention
So, here are your honorable mentions:
Panch was a driver that drove in what is now the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series from 1951-1966. Over those 15 seasons, he compiled only 216 career starts. Which, divided by 36—which is today's schedule—is only six full seasons.
Plus, Panch compiled more than half of his 17 wins with the Wood Brothers. Not taking anything away from Panch, but they were one of the best teams back in those days. People did a lot more with a lot less, which is what seperates Panch from our No. 10 driver on this list.
Still, Panch was one of the best ever. In those 216 starts, he's got 17 wins. His career, driving wise, is a lot like Kyle Busch's. If Busch retired after the 2010 season, he would've had 222 starts and 19 wins. So, if Kyle retired after 2010, would I put him in here? I'm not sure. It's just not a long enough period of time to see what someone has.
1957 was Panch's best season, and nearly ran full-time and he finished second in points. It's just difficult to get a good read on a driver. I would love to put Panch higher, but there's just so much grey area that I can't. Marvin Panch cannot go unnoticed though.
Now, this one may shock some people, but look at what Ernie Irvan did in his career. His career spanned over 13 seasons in the Cup Series. He compiled only 313 starts due to injuries later in his career, and still pulled out 15 wins.
Early on, Irvan was aggressive and aggravated a lot of veteran drivers. But once he settled down, he was one of the best out there. After leaving the No. 4 Morgan-McClure Motorsports car, Irvan joined Robert Yates Racing with nine races left in the 1993 season. In those nine races, Ernie won two of them. There was no doubt everyone thought that he and crew chief Larry McReynolds were going to be a big threat in 1994.
In '94, Irvan won three of the first 20 races and was sitting 27 points behind Dale Earnhardt for the lead. Irvan was going to give Dale a run for his money. But a near fatal practice crash the following weekend in Michigan changed Irvan's career forever. He missed the rest of the 1994 season and only ran three races in 1995. Irvan ran the rest of his career without sight in one eye.
In 1996, he came back to full-time competition and still won two races. He won one more race in 1997 before joining MB2 Motorsports in 1998. In 1999, Irvan was still with the MB2 Motorsports team, but in his own Busch Series car in 1999, at Michigan, he once again had a near-fatal accident and was airlifted from the track.
Two weeks later, Irvan cried in a press conference announcing his retirement from racing. To this day, he still has a tough time going back to the track because he says that he will get the itch to race again. Irvan belongs on this list and is No. 11. If it weren't for injuries, he wouldn't even be here, because he'd be a champion, no doubt about it, and off paper, he's a champion anyway.