DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — It is a massive deal and a uncommon achievement when any driver reels off three consecutive wins within the Monster Power NASCAR Cup Collection, and solely 9 races into the 2018 season, it has already occurred twice.
Kyle Busch’s spectacular displaying Saturday night time at Richmond Raceway earned the 32-yr-previous his third straight Cup win (Texas and Bristol have been the primary two). Kevin Harvick completed the feat a month in the past, profitable consecutive races at Atlanta, Las Vegas and Phoenix. He completed a disappointing thirty fifth the subsequent week in California at Auto Membership Speedway, ending his streak.
Busch and Harvick account for six wins in 9 races this season, but in addition 4 runner-up finishes (Busch has three, Harvick has one). The Monster Power Collection champions (Harvick in 2014, Busch in 2015) look like out so as to add a second title to their resumes.
Since 1998, just one driver — seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson — has Gained 4 consecutive races. Johnson closed out his 10-win, title-hoisting 2007 season with victories at tracks accustomed to this 2018 storyline: Martinsville, Atlanta, Texas and Phoenix.
Busch has the chance to equal that mark in Sunday’s GEICO 500 at the two.sixty six-mile, excessive-banked Talladega Superspeedway (2 p.m. ET; Fox, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) — some of the unpredictable venues on the schedule.
Busch’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin, who completed third at Richmond, provides Busch’s No. 18 Toyota workforce full credit score for getting outcomes it doesn’t matter what the state of affairs dictates, from the Texas 1.5-miler to the tight Bristol bull ring, and like so many individuals, he sounded optimistic Busch will probably be thought-about a favourite once more this week.
“They’re profitable them in dominating style, they usually’re profitable them by being up entrance and placing themselves in place,” Hamlin stated Saturday. “Tonight they in all probability gained on pit street. It is a number of alternative ways.”
The 18 workforce works on pit street through the Richmond race. (Getty Pictures)
As with Johnson, the one lively driver to ever win 4 straight and one among solely eight within the Modern Period (1972-current), Busch has a historical past of getting on a roll. Johnson and Busch are the one two drivers entered Sunday to have gained three consecutive races greater than as soon as.
Busch gained three straight in 2015, amazingly profitable on the Sonoma street course solely 5 weeks after returning to competitors from a extreme leg damage. A seventeenth-place end at the subsequent race in Daytona was the one hiccup in a 5-race stretch that noticed him hoist 4 trophies en path to his first Cup championship.
All through his profession, Busch has constructed on success. He has gained again-to-again Cup races 5 totally different occasions, beginning with Daytona and Chicago in the summertime of 2008. His others have taken place over the previous 4 seasons, beginning together with his three-peat in 2015 and sequential trophies in 2016 at Martinsville and Texas. Final yr he gained at New Hampshire and Dover in consecutive weeks in the course of the Playoffs.
The opposite seven drivers in addition to Johnson (in 2007) to win 4 consecutive Cup Collection races are Cale Yarborough (1976), Darrell Waltrip (1981), Dale Earnhardt (1987), Harry Gant (1991), Invoice Elliott (1992), Mark Martin (1993) and Jeff Gordon (1998).
None of their profitable streaks included Talladega, however Busch has cause to at least be hopeful.
He has gained at Talladega — the truth is, he gained the spring race in 2008. Since then he has almost as many prime-10s (six) as he does finishes of twentieth or worse (eight) at the monitor. He was runner-up within the spring race two years in the past and third final yr.
“Fairly cool to win three in a row,” Busch allowed Saturday night time in Richmond. “That is actually particular. Definitely we did that in ’15. Virtually gained 4 in a row. We ran out of fuel, half a lap to go.
“Subsequent week we go to Talladega. I feel it is simpler to win the Energy Ball than win at Talladega. We’ll give it a go anyway, see what we get.”
He additionally acknowledged of Talladega, with a smile: “That one’s by no means actually all the time within the driver’s arms. It is sort of all the time in destiny’s arms. We’ll simply take what we will get.”
Holly Cain writes for the NASCAR Wire Service.