FORT WORTH, Texas — Through six Sprint Cup races, there have been six different winners this season.
Could Texas make it 7-for-7?
The Duck Commander 500, which begins at 2 p.m. Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway, usually has a familiar cast of characters running at the front, but winning is a different story. TMS has had 17 different winners in 26 Cup races since it opened in 1997.
Here’s a look at some potential favorites to win this week, along with some other story lines that could have a major impact on the race:
Three for victory lane
Here are three favorites to win the Duck Commander 500:
•Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior’s first Cup victory came at Texas 14 years ago, on April 2, 2000. The current points leader is off to his best start in years, and he’s been strong at Texas lately. He was the runner-up last November and has six top-10s in his last eight TMS races.
•Jimmie Johnson: One of two drivers with three Cup wins at TMS, Johnson still doesn’t have a victory this season. He typically performs best at Texas’ fall races, but don’t count him out this week.
•Carl Edwards: Another three-time Texas winner and currently third in the standings, Edwards is always solid in Fort Worth. He’s one of the winningest drivers at the track across all series.
New winner streak
Will there be a seventh different winner in the seventh race of the season? Aside from Johnson, here are three more candidates to keep the streak alive:
•Matt Kenseth: Though he’s second in points, he isn’t among the six race winners so far. He won a career-best seven races last year, including multiple wins on 1.5-mile tracks. He has won twice at Texas and been in the top five 15 times.
•Tony Stewart: As part-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing, Stewart got to see his team win its first race of the season last week, with Kurt Busch taking the checkered flag at Martinsville. You can bet the boss wants to get his No. 14 car to Victory Lane soon, too.