Who Will Be #200-2022 Version?

After Bubba Wallace’s first win last season in the fifth race of the 2021 Playoffs the question was asked-Who Will Be #200?

Now with his win at the 2022 Daytona 500, Austin Cindric becomes the 199th Cup winner. Cindric, who in his last race of last season came within a few feet of being back-to-back Xfinity Series champion, won his next race out-the biggest race in Cup. So now it’s time to ask again-Who will be #200?

In now it’s 74th season. Over 3000 drivers have competed at the Cup level. Only 199 have won.

Who will be #200?

With this win, Cindric finds himself in a 65-way tie with other one time Cup winners. Before you let that high number diminish the accomplishment, look at the company he joins-

Contemporaries

193-Chris Buescher

194-Justin Haley

195-Cole Custer

196-Michael McDowell

197-Christopher Bell

198-Bubba Wallace

Legacies

Jim Roper-winner of the first NASCAR sanctioned race 1949

Bill Rexford-1950 Cup Champion

Johnny Mantz-Winner of first Darlington race 1950

Wendell Scott-first African-American driver to win a Cup race 1964

Richard Brickhouse-Winner of first Talladega race 1969

Ron Bouchard-Rookie winner of 1981 Talladega 500

Mario Andretti-1967 Daytona 500 winner, 1969 Indy 500 winner

Johnny Rutherford-1963 Daytona 500 qualifier, 3-time Indy 500 winner

Mark Donohue-Winner 1973 Riverside, 1972 Indy 500 winner, first Indy win for Roger Penske

Greg Sacks-Winner 1985 Firecracker 400

Jim “Herk” Hurtubise-Winner 1966 Atlanta 500,

Cindric finds himself not only in good company but with some pretty good credentials himself-

2022 Daytona 500 winner and first rookie (full-time) to win the Great American Race. Won the first race in his first full-time season.

Not too shabby.

Now, it’s off on the Western Swing.

Will #200 come before the Traveling Circus crosses back across the Mississippi River?

With this NEXT-GEN (sport not just the car), anything (except maybe getting parts) seems possible. Sunday is Auto Club Speedway. Thanks to COVID and the resultant restrictions, the Series hasn’t been there in two years. It’s almost like a new venue for the circuit. To get ready for Cup’s return they have been grinding on the track. Tire Dragon will make a visit along with some track resin. Throw in a new car, new tires, new wheels, new growing pains along with a dash of a parts shortage limiting the teams’ car inventory and it could easily happen this weekend.

400 miles at Las Vegas to follow. Then off to Phoenix. That track has been pretty racy in the Spring. Then, it’s back home for the nearly repaved Atlanta.

Who knows? Two new winners this season? We had three last season. With everything NEXT GEN (sport, not just the car) it could happen. Not saying it will… but wouldn’t be surprised if it did.

So, who will be #200?

We have a pretty talented group of candidates for this honor-

Tyler Reddick has to be a leading candidate. He did a lot of testing of the new car for RCR and probably knows it’s limits better than anyone in the Series. Based on spins and scrapes and the fact that RCR was the lead developer on the car, I’m not sure any other candidate is better equipped to be the next new winner.

Chase Briscoe looked stout at Daytona, bringing his Mahindra Tractor Ford home third Sunday. It was good to see SHR back up front again. The question is, is it a sign of things to come? Fans can hope.

Trackhouse Racing boasts two contenders for Mr. 200. Ross Chastain and Daniel Suarez are now teamed up to make a run for the honor. Can they “Shake and Bake” their way to Victory Lane and NASCAR history? We’ll soon know.

Harrison Burton in the Wood Brothers iconic #21 has to be a sentimental favorite. This rookie’s win would not only give him Cup’s 200 win but with it the Wood Brothers’ 100th win. They are affiliated with Penske and we’ve seen what those cars can do. Can they come through again?

Daniel Hemric beat 2022 Daytona 500 winner Austin Cindric for the 2021 Xfinity Championship. He’s moved up to Cup with Kaulig Racing. Matt Kaulig and team have been impressive at every level they compete in and surprise wins are right in their wheelhouse. Could Daniel’s first Cup win make him NASCAR’s 200th?

Ty Dillon returned to Cup, joining Erik Jones at Petty-GMS. New car with a new teammate and a new team could produce new results. A Ty Dillon win in a Richard Petty car to be NASCAR’s 200th winner would be a Made For Hollywood script worth watching.

Spire Motorsports is another one of those teams capable of surprise wins. That should suit Corey LaJoie and Josh Bilicki just fine when they roll off Sunday.

Rick Ware Racing has joined with SHR this season which should boost Cody Ware and Garrett Smithley chances to be competitive this season. Enough for a win… probably not, but this season should show improvement.

Todd Gilliland and B. J. McLeod rounds out the field of eligible contenders for this iconic milestone for this Sunday’s race.

There are several others who are eligible who are scheduled to race selected races this season, like Landon Cassill Who knows, Jacques Villeneuve is set to run a few more races this season and he might slip in there to steal it. F1 Champ and #200 Cup winner… that would be a nice addition to his résumé.

Another race to follow

As the Cup season heads westbound and down out of Daytona, thirty-six or so drivers will continue on to race for 2022 Championship and the distinction to be the first NEXT GEN Champion. That’s the race most fans will be glued to between now and the final race in Phoenix.

But as you watch Sunday’s race and those others that follow, don’t forget this race within that race. For these 13 drivers, it isn’t for the Playoff or for the Championship. They are racing for an ever-lasting mark in NASCAR history-to be Cup winner #200.

And that, you don’t want to miss.

So who do you think will be #200?

Be sure to put your pick in the comments below.

Thunder On… and Stay Safe

Photo Credit; Chris Graythen/Getty Images

11 comments

  1. Good analysis, friend. I’d bet (if I was a betting type) that we won’t see #200 before COTA or Bristol at the earliest, because none of the other early-season tracks has any tradition of first-timers. Bowman won his third (I think) at Vegas, but otherwise, the winners circles have been filled with guys who already have closets full of victory lane hats. Of course, next stop after Bristol is Talladega, where one of the Air Titan drivers might get the honor, since nothing that happens there makes any sense. Your thoughts about Reddick make much sense, and if the next new winner comes anywhere other than Talladega or Daytona, I’d probably go with him or Briscoe.

    1. Thanks Frank!

      I keep thinking Reddick is the closest thing to being rhere, but Briscoe is catching my eye some. Looks lot more confident this go around. It’s going to be interesting to to keep an eye on…. Personally, after Bubba I thought #199 would take a while. Boy was I wrong!

      Thanks again!

  2. Nice read David.
    Assuming it’s not at one of the restrictor plate tracks which are crap-shoots, I’d go with either Chastain or Reddick. I would give the edge to Reddick because he has shown up more than a few times with a car that has run up front most of the race. He has impressed me on several occasions to the point where I have kind of been rooting for him to get a win.

    1. Thanks for the comments Bill B

      I really thought Reddick would be #199 as I totally underestimated Cindric. I know Daytona is a wild card and anything can happen but just never expected him to slide in in front of Tyler.

      Had high hopes about Chastain but I’m not sure about the new team. Want him to do good, just not sure he can get over the hump. Hope he does.

      Not sure you can count out Kaulig-somewhere along the line they will pop up and get another one when you least expect it.

      It’ll be fun to watch for sure!

      Thanks again! On to Fontana.

  3. Thanks for the great article David!!
    For Your sentimental winner Harrison Burton to win the # 200 and # 100 for the Wood Brother would really be a story almost to good!! Maybe it will happen this spring! But IF I would pick one from the heart it’ll be Todd Gilliland at the COTA races last year in Trucks He was just AWESOME there in the rain and who knows IF thing fall in place he might do it again. How ever I have to admit most of the ones You mention is more likely to do it!
    Stay Safe
    //B

    1. Thanks Berra. Todd did show well. I think he turned some heads Sunday. Your probably right that it will take a track like COTA to make it happen. Hopefully they won’t have to run in the rain this time, but we’ll see how monsoon adaptable the Next-Gen is.

      It will be something to follow though.

      Thanks for your comments.

      Stay safe!

  4. Great analysis and summation of possible new driver to hit that 200 mark this year. My heart is saying Chase Briscoe or Tyler Reddick. My logic says “I have no idea” as nothing ever seems to happen the way some of us predict. If there is a new winner, then I do predict it will happen at Talladega with someone most of us never thought about being the “one”. It will be exciting and interesting to watch and see, along with anticipation for someone we each find special…
    Thanks, David. Very good read!

    1. Thanks Vivian!

      I think those two have to be the leading candidates. Talladega may be the place but I can see COTA or Bristol Dirt factoring in as well. Just enough of a wild card. It’ll be fun! Thanks for commenting and keep watching history in the making!

  5. If there were any press left in the press boxes, thst would make a great pool. Throw yer money in and guess Cup’s 200th winner. Good stuff there, David.

    1. Thanks Dave! That would be fun. Shame there isn’t enough Press left to stir up a side bet!

      Thanks again and stay safe!

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