Work in Sports
Winning isn't everything
Waltrip still looking for directions to Victory Lane
By Desmond M. Wallace, CNNSI.com
When race car driver Steve Park emerged victorious just over a week ago at Watkins Glen, perhaps even more disappointing than Michael Waltrip's own 17th-place finish at the event was the knowledge that he had come up empty for the 450th consecutive time in his career.
Having gone winless in each of his 17 seasons on the NASCAR circuit, Waltrip ranks sixth all time in racing futility.
J.D. McDuffie, who raced on the stock car circuit until he crashed and died during a 1991 race, started 653 career events without a single victory. Buddy Arrington's 560 starts without a "W" rank second.
Waltrip's infamous streak of losses far outdistances the next-highest active title-less driver -- Rick Mast -- by a comfortable 126 starts.
Of course, Waltrip's inability to find Victory Lane shouldn't completely obscure a career that includes 85 Top 10 career finishes. At least the Kentucky native was the runner-up in 1988 at Pocono.
Waltrip won the 1996 running of The Winston - NASCAR's annual non-points event. Waltrip was running third in that race when Dale Earnhardt and Terry Labonte tangled, allowing Waltrip away untouched for the $200,000 winner's check.
That big payday added to the more than $10 million in official winnings through this season. Ironically, Waltrip has tasted success in the Busch Series as a driver/owner - he has managed to cop eight Busch Series victories and nearly won the Busch event last weekend in Michigan.
Unfortunately for Waltrip, those Busch Series wins are still eight more wins than in his entire Winston Cup career.