A triple-header weekend in NASCAR generally means we have to address at least one elephant in the room, one that decides to take it upon him or herself to run all three races in one weekend.
Unsurprisingly, this weekend’s racing at Kentucky Speedway is no different. Kyle Busch will compete in all three national series races this weekend, beginning with the Camping World Truck Series before moving to the XFINITY Series on Friday and the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series finale on Saturday.
Nothing new, really. Busch used to do this way more often, in fact. And in this weekend’s case, he’ll be doing so from his own part-time truck rather than one of his team’s full-time rides, piloting the No. 46 for Kyle Busch Motorsports.
In 2010, Busch became the first driver ever to win all three races in one weekend. However, he’s far from the only driver to win at least once in all three series. And if someone — not Busch, certainly, since he’s already done so — happened to run all three races in one weekend in the future, they would have a shot at adding their name to that ever-growing list, which has actually added two entrants already in 2017.
In all, 29 different drivers have won in all three series. That’s still fairly substantial given that the feat could only be accomplished beginning in 1995, when the Truck Series ran its inaugural season. Plus, it’s becoming less and less common for Cup drivers to even jump down to the Truck Series; in 2017 alone, only Busch, Chase Elliott, Austin Dillon and Ty Dillon have done so. Many drivers seem to need to rattle off that Truck Series win younger/earlier in their careers rather than getting a chance to accomplish the feat later in life. Same can’t exactly be said for the XFINITY Series yet, but hey, give it time, maybe.
That 29 number includes drivers both past and present. Zeroing in further to incorporate just active drivers this season, 16 have done so, with Busch probably the first name on the tongue of anyone asked the question, “Who’s won in all three series?”
Busch joined the club fairly early on, doing so after his first Cup victory in September 2005 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The first active driver, however, to win in all three series was Kevin Harvick. And interestingly, the final piece of the puzzle for Harvick was that pesky Truck win, which he accomplished at Phoenix International Raceway in 2002, having wins already to his credit in the Cup and XFINITY series.
Most recently, Austin Dillon and Ryan Blaney have joined their ranks after recording their first Cup wins in the last few months. Dillon was first set on this path after a Truck win at Iowa Speedway in 2010, while Blaney, too, first emerged victorious at Iowa in the Truck Series.
The full list of active drivers:
Dillon and Blaney aren’t alone in progressing from a Truck Series win to a Cup victory; Kyle Larson also first won in the Truck Series. Interestingly, they’re the only active ones to follow the Truck-XFINITY-Cup progression. Shoot, Michael Waltrip didn’t win a Truck race until 2011, coming up on 23 years since his first XFINITY victory.
However, that feat has been replicated by a few drivers no longer competing in NASCAR’s higher ranks. Greg Biffle, for instance, first won in the Truck Series, followed by XFINITY and then Cup. Carl Edwards was the same, with his first XFINITY and Cup victories coming a day apart at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 2005. David Reutimann joins them too after first winning a Truck race at Nashville Superspeedway in 2005.
Meanwhile, the first driver to win all three? Ken Schrader, naturally. After scoring his first victories in the other two series in the late 1980s, Schrader was one of the victors in the inaugural Truck Series season, pulling into Victory Lane at Saugus Speedway in California.
The full list of drivers currently not racing in NASCAR’s top three series (subject to change, especially if Schrader runs Eldora Speedway in the Truck Series later this month like he often does):
Johnny Benson Jr.
Who could join these ranks this year? Well, I suppose anyone could, but a few are closer than others. AJ Allmendinger only needs a Truck win, for example, though that would require him to actually run a race in the series, which hasn’t happened in nearly a decade. That list goes on, including some of the biggest names the sport has ever known, like Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Actually, Earnhardt hasn’t even competed in a Truck Series race at all. Can we make that happen before he rides off into the sunset? Please?