Kyle Busch is hot, but here’s why only one driver is The King
Without question, Kyle Busch is far and away the hottest driver in NASCAR right now, having swept two consecutive weekends of racing.
But he’s got a long way to go to set records for consecutive wins at the sport’s top level — what is now known as Sprint Cup and what NASCAR refers to as "Premier Series" to cover all the name changes since the Strictly Stock Series first raced in 1949.
Ten drivers have won four consecutive Premier Series races: Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip, Billy Wade, David Pearson, Mark Martin, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Harry Gant, Bill Elliott and Dale Earnhardt.
Interestingly, Wade’s 1964 streak saw his four victories all coming all in the Northeast and all in a Bud Moore-owned Mercury. On July 10, 1964, Wade won the Fireball Roberts 200 at Old Bridge Stadium in New Jersey. Two days later, Wade won on the Bridgehampton Raceway road course in New York. He followed up with wins on the Islip Speedway on Long Island on July 15 and the Watkins Glen International road course on July 19.
Sadly, Wade never won again and was killed in tire testing the following January.
Bobby Allison is the only driver in NASCAR Premier Series history to win five in a row. Allison’s streak came in 1971, starting when he won the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway ahead of his brother, Donnie.
From there, Allison won at Dover, Michigan and the old Riverside road course in Southern California. Allison’s first four wins came driving for Holman-Moody, the then-factory Ford team. His fifth and final consecutive win came on the half-mile Meyer Speedway in Houston, where he won driving his own Dodge.
Of course, the record Busch will never touch — nor will any other NASCAR driver — belongs to Richard Petty, who won 10 in a row and 27 of his 48 starts in 1967.
Petty’s first victory in that streak came at Bowman-Gray Stadium, a track in Winston-Salem, N.C., where they still race today, on Aug. 12. He didn’t lose again until his engine blew at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Oct. 15.
During his streak, Petty won on dirt and on asphalt.
He won on tracks measuring 0.250, 0.400, 0.500, 0.625, 0.900 and 1,375 miles in length.
Petty won one race that lasted just 62.500 miles, and he won the Southern 500, which lasted 500.
He won once by five laps.
At Bowman-Gray, just 18 cars raced; at Darlington, the field was a robust 44 cars.
Just for good measure, Petty also won six in a row in 1971, and won three in a row on 10 different occasions.
Kyle Busch is a phenomenal talent who has been red hot since coming back from injuries last year. So congrats to Busch and Joe Gibbs Racing for their well-earned success.
But when it comes to setting records, there’s a reason Richard Petty is The King.