Tick. Tick. Tick. The races start and the races end, laps rolling off in between, the months pass and the question becomes not just a question but the question: Has NASCAR's most dominant driver of the last decade and a half won for the final time?
Hendrick Motorsports star Jimmie Johnson is mired in a 34-race winless streak. At some point, even the most talented drivers and teams stop winning - dynasties come to an end. Success is no longer a given.
"Do you think that [four-time Daytona 500 winner] Cale Yarborough thought when he got to 83 wins that would be his last win?" asks three-time NASCAR champion Darrell Waltrip. "Do you think that Bobby [Allison, 1983 Cup champion] and me got to 84 and we thought that was going to be our last win?"