NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Beside the Rising Tide: Setting the Record Straight

Something unusual happened in these parts Saturday afternoon (June 26): NASCAR held a race and Kyle Larson did not win. Officially, Larson was going for his fourth consecutive NASCAR Cup Series win. And he damn near got it, until a flat tire exiting the final turn on the final lap dropped him to a ninth-place result.

As far as I’m concerned, and Larson made the same “error” in his post-race interview, he was going for his fifth straight win Saturday. In addition to his wins at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Sonoma Raceway and Nashville Superspeedway, you may recall he won this year’s All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway. Prior to the start of Larson’s noted streak of wins, he had finished second in three straight races: Darlington Raceway, Dover International Speedway and Circuit of the Americas.

Think what you will of this year’s All-Star Race format (and I’m on record as despising it), the other drivers did not take the evening off and hand driving chores over to robotic stunt doubles. When they handed the million dollar check over to the “winner,” they gave it to Larson. In fact, other drivers did indeed race the No. 5 team for the prize that night, and they lost. Since the rest of them all lost, someone had to win and that person was Kyle Larson.

See also
Beside the Rising Tide: All-Stars, Super Stars and Fast Loud Cars

But a great many unusual things happened Saturday besides a new winner and a last lap pass for the lead. I don’t know if I can get my mind around having a Cup race run on a Saturday afternoon as opposed to evening (and there have been numerous Saturday night races in the sport’s history over the years). It’s just a bit off to have a race run on Saturday afternoon.

Whether Larson was attempting to win his fourth or fifth race perhaps doesn’t matter that much. NBC showed a graphic a few times noting the eight drivers who had won four events in a row. Not mentioned, at least in my hearing, was the real record for consecutive wins. Richard Petty once won 10 straight races. In a stretch of races that began Aug. 12, 1967 at Winston-Salem and concluded at North Wilkesboro Speedway on Oct. 1, 1967, nobody but the King scored a win. For the record (so to speak), Larson will never eclipse that record. Nobody ever will. Hell, they’ve been trying to do so for 54 years and the closest anyone has ever gotten since 1971 is five consecutive wins.

Aside from that likely unbeatable mark, 1967 was a remarkable season for Petty and the No. 43 team. They won a total of 27 of the year’s 49 NASCAR races. They claimed 40 top-10 results, of which 38 were top fives. The outfit won the pole for six of those 10 consecutive races they won. They started outside pole in two others. They won a total of 18 poles that season.

Ford was so desperate to reign in the humiliation, they built an “experimental” car they gave to Holman-Moody, Ford’s de facto factory team at the time, and had them put Bobby Allison at the wheel. Allison won the last two races of that season at Rockingham Speedway and Ashville-Weaverville Speedway. Petty finished second at Ashville-Weaverville and crashed at Rockingham after leading 73 laps that day. The streak officially came to an end at Charlotte Motor Speedway, where Petty blew an engine, allowing Buddy Baker to win the event.

The closest anyone has come to matching Petty’s record was Allison, who won five consecutive races in 1971. Allison started his roll in the World 600 at Charlotte. He next won at Dover International Speedway and Michigan International Speedway. He won the following week at Riverside International Raceway and followed that up with a fifth win at Houston.

Later in 1971, Petty also won five straight races, claiming Malta, tiny Islip, Trenton, Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway. That year, Petty won 21 races and Allison won 10 times. Between them, they won 31 of that year’s 46 Cup events.

Winning four consecutive races in NASCAR’s top series is no small achievement. The eight drivers who did so previously (not including Petty or Allison) were:

  • Cale Yarborough, 1976: Richmond Raceway, Dover, Martinsville Speedway and North Wilkesboro
  • Darrell Waltrip, 1981: Martinsville. North Wilkesboro, Charlotte and Rockingham
  • Dale Earnhardt, 1987: Darlington, North Wilkesboro, Bristol Motor Speedway and Martinsville
  • Harry Gant, 1991: Darlington, Richmond, Dover and Martinsville
  • Bill Elliott, 1992: Rockingham, Richmond, Atlanta and Darlington
  • Mark Martin, 1993: Watkins Glen International, Michigan, Bristol and Darlington
  • Jeff Gordon, 1998: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Pocono, Watkins Glen and Michigan
  • Jimmie Johnson, 2007: Martinsville, Atlanta, Texas and Phoenix Raceway

I was interested to see how the fans would react to Larson matching those storied drivers’ accomplishments. Previously, the feat has drawn mixed reactions. A whole lot of fans despised DW for most of his driving career. Despite what your uncle with the metal plate in his head told you, not everyone was a fan of The Intimidator. I recall seeing T-shirts at the track that read, “I don’t care who wins at long as it’s not the black 3 car.” Earnhardt had a reputation as a hard charger who wrecked a lot of competitors … or at the very least rattled their cages.

Gordon had his fair share of detractors who booed his (frequent) success and occasional misfortune. The same went for Johnson; both Gordon and Johnson were a little too “Yankee” for some Southern fans. I don’t know how that sort of fan will react to Larson potentially winning four events in a row. And it will be a while before we find out, I suppose.

While we’re exploding myths about the sport, in some respects the Good Old Days were sometimes not so good. During Petty’s 10-race winning streak, he was often the only car left on the lead lap. In fact, during that streak Dick Hutcherson was the only driver to once finish on the same lap at Petty (at Hillsboro).

To debunk another myth about the days of yore, let me inform you racing back then didn’t turn teenagers into millionaires overnight. I’ve mentioned Richard Petty a few times. The guy, after all, did win 200 times in NASCAR’s top division (another record that will never be broken). In 35 years of Cup racing, and despite those 200 wins Petty claimed just $8,541,210 dollars in prize money. That doesn’t include endorsement deals, sponsorship or other such foo-foo-raw. It’s just winnings. Then look at Danica Patrick, not out of spite but simply because she’s back in the spotlights with the SRX experiment.

Patrick drove in a total of 191 NASCAR Cup races. She never managed a top-five finish, though she did collect seven top 10s. Her career earnings (just in Cup prize money) are listed as around #12.4 million, way more than the King.

But Larson’s last lap flat left another streak intact. His Hendrick Motorsports teammate Alex Bowman won in Larson’s place. Combined with Chase Elliott’s win at COTA, prior to Larson’s streak, HMS had six consecutive wins.

See also
NASCAR Stat Sheet: Killer B's Unleashed in Pocono As Bowman & Busch Capture Wins

The record for consecutive wins by a team in NASCAR’ s top division, at least by my research, was set way back in 1956 by an outfit owned by Carl Kiekhaefer. I don’t present Mr. Kiekhaefer as a moral paragon. He was, in fact, a skunk of the lowest order. But he spent money like he hated the stuff, particularly on a fleet of white Chrysler 300 series cars that flat out dominated NASCAR racing in that era.

From Atlanta on March 25, 1956 to Merced, a tiny half-mile dirt track in California, on June 3, Kiekhaefer’s Chryslers won every event. That’s a remarkable 15 straight wins by one team, a mark I doubt will ever be matched.

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janice

when the larson winning “streak” started i couldn’t help but remember “abe”, anyone but earnhardt, and then “abg” anyone but gordon. it will be interesting to see, during his run in cup, if someone starts “abl”.

streaks and records are meant to fall.

Bill B

Of course there will be “ABL”s Janice (we already know of a mob of one just from our encounters here at FS). No one can ever be liked by everyone.

Bill B

Always good to get some historical perspectives Matt. Reading all this just cements in my mind why you can never compare stats and records before and after the Winston era. I’d argue that the same can be said about any 10 year segment of any sport. Rules change, tracks change, the series changes, etc., but that doesn’t stop people from trying to make those comparisons.

BTW, I bet you guys would have been in heaven back in your 1313 days being able to have a Pocono weekend like the one just past. An ARCA race on Friday, Truck and Cup races on Saturday, and a Xfin and Cup races on Sunday,. That would have been a real test to see whether or not you all could have paced yourselves with your beer consumption to make it all the way. As I said in an earlier comment, it’s like a Woodstock for racing fans.

Last edited 3 months ago by Bill B
jobe

Another bit of factual information: Kyle Larson’s 10 Cup wins put him 62nd on the all-time list, tied with Clint Bowyer. Another factoid: Ryan Newman has 18 Cup wins including 8 in 2003, which did not result in a Championship, as the title went to a single race winner.

And here’s a list of Larson’s contemporaries who have won 3 in a row: Kyle Busch (twice), Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski. Yeah, it’s a nice streak, but actually fairly common.

Just a little perspective to set the record straight.

DoninAjax

Jobe or not Jobe, that is the question. Whether tis nobler to acknowledge the superiority of Larson or suffer the slings and arrows of admitting the inferiority of Baby Busch.

jobe

Score is 59 – 10.

And I didn’t just jump on the bandwagon after he won a race like you have with Larson. I started cheering for Busch when he wreaked havoc in the 2005 Daytona 500.

Last edited 3 months ago by jobe
DoninAjax

For the record I jumped off the David Pearson bandwagon when he retired and never got on anyone else’s. I saw Pearson at Michigan Speedway and the Pontiac Silverdome. How many times have you seen Baby Busch live? Baby Busch and his brother raced at Delaware Speedway in Ontario (Canada) but I never had the chance to see them. But I have a hard time deciding which of David Pearson, Bobby Allison or Richie Evans is the best I’ve seen. Baby Busch isn’t close.

Bill B

Frontstretch’s answer to question nobody asked.

Echo

I don’t care what anyone says, I watched him win 4 straight races against Cup competition.

jobe

Sadly for you and Matt McLaughlin, your delusion is not going into the record books.

Echo

You do know who’s eventually going to have the last laugh don’t you 😁 sure you do lmao

jobe

Oh, you sad old thing, we are years away from knowing who will have the last laugh. These things go in cycles. In 2019, JGR won 19 races, had 3 in the Final Four and won the Championship. This year, HMS under the Chad the Cheat is back on top.

But this year is a one-off. With the new car in 2022, it’s a whole new game.

What we do know is that In the end, the fastest car is more important than who is driving it. But keep your shrines to Jeffie and Larson if it helps you get through the night.

Echo

Years away ! New car next year is right. How many types of cars did Larson win in during the last year. You can deny his driving ability all you want in that pea brain, but everyone else can see it. Your hatred is beyond belief.

Echo

your wrong, it will be noted and commented on forever and nothing you can do about it. Gnaw gnaw.

jobe

You’re wrong.” That’s the phrase you were looking for. Did you even go to elementary school?

It’s really pathetic that you believe that anything involving NASCAR will be “noted and commented on forever.” NASCAR is a minor sport and when your generation is gone, so will any memory of NASCAR in 2021.

You’re living in your own delusional world, old lady. I would have said “get over it, boomer,” but I think you’re probably even older than that generation.

Last edited 3 months ago by jobe
Echo

lol see how arrogant you are lmao
you had to have the last word. So easy to f with. Your arrogance and hatred force you to respond. You can turn your computer off, turn your back to it, go into the other room, whatever. But you can’t help yourself. I own you. Your pathetic, you can’t walk away. Watch- respond pea brain………

Bill B

I can always tell when I get her. She will basically just return the same insult like she’s run out of ideas. The first time I said she had a humongous ego, she replied basically saying the same thing about me. This is the first time I called her arrogant and she basically repeated it back to me… like a parrot. Nice to know when you hit the mark.Polly wanna cracker?

As for getting the last word in, I dare her to go back for the last few weeks and tally up every comment in which there was an exchange with other commenters and find out who got the last word in. It is her by far so I’m not sure why she keeps going there. If getting the last word in means anything she is winning on that count.

jobe

You’re not very bright, are you, Billy Bob? I purposely use the same words you use against me, because you are guilty of everything you accuse me of. You don’t even see that about yourself, do you?

You are so used to the baa-baa sheep like Echo following your lead that you feel entitled. Typical pompous ass mentality.

Echo

And Newman’s fellow rookie ended up with 83 wins and how many championships. Twist those facts some more. I honestly think the earth is spinning to fast for you.

jobe

There you go proving my point, Matilda! Newman won 8 times in 2003 and yet those wins don’t make him a great driver. Just as Larson’s wins in 2021 don’t make him a superstar.

Greatness is determined over time, not a single span of a handful of races. If Larson gets to 50+ wins, he will deserve the sloppy adulation he is getting now from bandwagon fans and those he who think he was the “victim” in last year’s situation.

Echo

Eating at you isn’t it 😁

DoninAjax

Larson has 50+ wins in Sprints. That counts more than Baby Busch’s wins in the minors.

Echo

Another bit of factual information:
The Charlotte Hornets have 2 winning seasons under MJ ownership in 12 years. Who cares !

jobe

You really HATE Black people, don’t you?

Bill B

And you hate anyone that doesn’t believe and think the same way you do.

Bill B

In fact you might be the most hate-filled person I’ve ever encountered.

jobe

Why, thank you, Billy Bob. Coming from you, that is a true compliment.

jobe

The fact that you have openly stated that coming after me is your “project” only shows your degree of hatred for anyone who disagrees with you. You are so used to being the Resident Blowhard Pubbah here that you simply can’t accept that someone doesn’t follow you blindly. You love having the little acolyte Echo aka Matilda.

Bill B

Echo and I have argued as much as we’ve agreed through the years. I don’t hate people that disagree with me, just SJW that think they know what’s best for everybody and want to force everyone to act the way they want.

That “project” thing really got ya, didn’t it? You’ve mentioned it a few times. The arrogant are always so easy to F with.

Last edited 3 months ago by Bill B
jobe

Pretty much everything gets to you doesn’t it? That’s why you always feel compelled to respond. Prove to me that you don’t have to have the last word, Arrogant Grand Pubbah!

Last edited 3 months ago by jobe
Echo

the arrogant are so easy to f with- lololol he’s right. Prove to me you don’t have to have the last word 😁

Echo

Beside the rising tide :
HMS playoff standings
Larson 4 wins
Bowman 3 wins
Byron 1 win
Chase 1 win
just another bit of factual information.
who cares ! oh, we know who does.

jobe

JGR playoff standings:

Martin Truex, Jr 3 wins

Kyle Busch 2 wins

Christopher Bell 1 win

Denny Hamlin leading the points

DoninAjax

Kyle Larson 4 wins

Alex Bowman 3 wins

William Byron 1 win

Chase Elliott 1 win

Kyle Larson 2 points behind Hamlin

Whose cars?

jobe

And, of course, in the Playoff System, all of those mid-season stats mean exactly nothing.

In 2020, Kevin Harvick won 9 races, didn’t make the Final Four. Denny Hamlin won 7 races, finished 4th in the standings.

The problem, sweetie, is that you are celebrating way too soon. Kinda like the race where Mark Martin pulled off the track before getting the Checkered Flag.

Or the race where you were having the vapors thinking Larson had the win, but his tire went BOOM!

Echo

Thought you were saving my posts ding dong. I’m not celebrating anything. I’ve constantly said the championship is 4 racers 1 race, for all the marbles. Flip a coin on who’s day it is to be lucky. I’m talking about a space in time with Larson. I’m talking about the here and now, his past 9 races have been phenomenal. Everyone else knows it, except you. You can’t even acknowledge he’s had a phenomenal run these past 9 races, can you !!! Twist it or answer it.

ArkyBass

thanks for another great article Matt, I like the historic angle. These posting clowns trying to one up each other, then denying it…or something…I can do without.

Roger

A word to the wise, never get into a pissing contest with a skunk. The troll isn’t worth a minute of you time.

DoninAjax

The thumb down is Jobe. Now, Jobe. Answer the question. How many times have you seen Baby Busch live? Or even been to a track.

jobe

I’ve seen KFB at Daytona, twice at Chicagoland, twice at Watkins Glen. And this weekend at RA.

DoninAjax

Been to any short tracks?

jobe

Yes, but they are not my thing.

jobe

Yes, but not my thing.

Lou

What’s missing here. I’ll tell y’all the 5th place champion of nascar the one they are all putting him on a pedastool for a 5th place finish at pocono and to here the talk the next champion of nascar with zero wins and no talent. Little boy Wallace!!

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