Tuesday, July 28, 2015

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Notes heading into Pocono 2

Kyle Busch won three straight using three different rules packages.

WINdianapolis: Kyle Busch Notches Third Straight Victory At The Brickyard
Kyle Busch took the checkered flag at Indianapolis on Sunday for his third straight victory as well as his fourth in the last five races.

In the Chase Era, Jimmie Johnson is the only other driver to log three or more consecutive wins. Johnson strung together four straight victories in the 2007 Chase on his way to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship and won three consecutive races in the 2004 Chase. Busch is the first driver in the Chase Era to win three consecutive races during the regular season.

Jeff Gordon is the only other active driver to win three consecutive races. He has achieved the feat on three occasions. Gordon captured four straight victories in 1998, in addition to three straight in 1996 and from 1998-99.

Busch has 33 NSCS wins since his career began in 2004, the second most in the Chase Era behind Johnson’s 68.

Johnson and Busch lead the NSCS with four victories the season, but Busch has only competed in nine races, while Johnson has competed in all 20.

Busch heads into Sunday’s Windows 10 400 at Pocono Raceway (1:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN) just 23 points behind Justin Allgaier for 30th in the standings – the position that would make him eligible for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. The No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota driver has six races left before the Chase starts to get into the top 30. Busch will need to average 19.6 points in the final six events of the regular season to make the Chase - he can achieve that by finishing 24th or better in the remaining regular season events.

Pull Out The Brooms? Truex Tries For First Sweep Of Season At Pocono
When the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to Pocono Raceway on Sunday – its second repeat track on the schedule – June Pocono winner Martin Truex Jr. will attempt to become the eighth driver to sweep the "Tricky Triangle."

Last season, Dale Earnhardt Jr. notched one of two track sweeps with his two wins at Pocono. Kevin Harvick recorded the second sweep at Phoenix.

The other six drivers to win both Pocono races were Denny Hamlin (2006), Jimmie Johnson (2004), Bobby Labonte (1999), Tim Richmond (1986), Bill Elliott (1985) and Bobby Allison (1982).

Bobby Allison (1982 sweep and spring 1983) and Tim Richmond (1986 sweep and spring 1987) are the only drivers to win three consecutive Pocono races.

Chevrolet On The Verge Of Its 750th Win
With one more visit to Victory Lane, Chevrolet would notch its 750th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win.

Here are some numbers detailing Chevrolet’s NSCS history:
76 different drivers have piloted a Chevrolet to Victory Lane
30 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships
38 Manufacturers’ championships – including the last 12
70 different tracks where Chevrolet drivers have won a race
23 Daytona 500 wins

Jeff Gordon boasts the most wins in a Chevrolet (92), followed by Jimmie Johnson (74), Dale Earnhardt (73), Darrell Waltrip (60) and Cale Yarborough (48).

Chevrolet winners have logged more than 260,918 miles, enough to circle the Earth at the equator 10 times.

Last week, Chevrolet’s 12-race win streak at Indianapolis – the longest active streak by a manufacturer at any track - was snapped. Chevrolet has won the last six races at Pocono, the new longest active streak at any track.

Logano Continues To Finish Strong
Joey Logano has not won a race since the Daytona 500.

Despite his frustration about not getting to Victory Lane, the 25-year-old Team Penske driver has still racked up strong finishes lately. He finished runner-up at Indianapolis for his third consecutive top-five finish and has six top-five results in his last seven races.

Logano ranks second in the points standings behind Kevin Harvick.

Following the Jeff Kyle 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Logano provided one of the more colorful quotes of the season summing up his performance:

"You know, you come to Indy, it's all about the win, either win or finish last. It doesn't really matter anywhere in between. At least that's the way I race when we come to a racetrack like this, Daytona and Indy. It's all about getting trophies and rings and making out with the bricks. Unfortunately we came up a little bit short."

Edwards Eyes Third Straight Pole
Carl Edwards followed up his first Coors Light Pole Award since 2013 at New Hampshire with another one at Indianapolis last weekend. He will go for his third straight Coors Light Pole Award this weekend for Sunday’s Windows 10 400 at Pocono Raceway.

Edwards was followed in Indianapolis qualifying by Joey Logano and David Ragan. The trio also finished 1-2-3 at New Hampshire. The occurrence marked the first time the same drivers started 1-2-3 in consecutive weeks since 2009 (Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson at New Hampshire and Daytona). Both starting orders were based off points due to rain, not competitive qualifying. Before then, the last time the same drivers started 1-2-3 in consecutive weeks was 1972 (David Pearson, Bobby Allison and Buddy Baker at Martinsville and Dover).

Streak Snapped: Hendrick Motorsports Aims To Get Back To Winning Pocono Ways
Martin Truex Jr.’s June victory at Pocono snapped a five-race win streak by Hendrick Motorsports at the 2.5-mile track. All four HMS drivers contributed to the run – Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2014 sweep), Kasey Kahne (August, 2013), Jimmie Johnson (June 2013) and Jeff Gordon (August, 2012). It was the first time since the fall race at Talladega last season that not one of the Hendrick Motorsports drivers finished in the top-10.

Hendrick Motorsports boasts a record of 17 wins at Pocono, almost twice as many as the next-best team (Joe Gibbs Racing, nine).

Gordon – Pocono’s all-time wins leader with six – will compete in his final race at the "Tricky Triangle" on Sunday. Johnson has three Pocono victories and owns the second-best driver rating there (106.9). Earnhardt and Kahne each have two wins at the Pennsylvania track.

History Lesson: Billy Wade First To Win Four Straight Races
With three consecutive victories, Kyle Busch has already placed his name among the NASCAR elite. Of the 19 drivers to accomplish the feat before him, 13 are enshrined in the NASCAR Hall of Fame, and three (Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Mark Martin) are locks to join them. A win this Sunday at Pocono will elevate Busch’s accomplishments even higher.

Larger than life names won three straight races in the 1950s – Herb Thomas, Junior Johnson, Fireball Roberts and Buck Baker. But it was a name you may not know that was first to reach four in a row.

Billy Wade was a 33-year-old modified and late model champion in Texas looking to move up to NASCAR when he was noticed by Hall of Famer Cotton Owens. He impressed as a rookie in 1963, earning 14 top-10 finishes in 31 races and winning Rookie of the Year honors.

He carried his success into the 1964 season, this time driving for another NASCAR Hall of Famer – Bud Moore. After finishing in the top 10 in 15 of his first 20 races of the season, Wade put together one of the best 10-day stretches in the history of NASCAR.

It started on July 10 with the Fireball Roberts 200 at Old Bridge (New Jersey) Speedway. Wade earned his first career win, holding off the biggest names of the era – Ned Jarrett, Richard Petty and David Pearson.

Two days later Wade struck again, this time at Bridgehampton (New York) Raceway. After starting third, Wade led four different times, including the final 12 laps, for his first road course win.

Next up was a July 15 race at Islip Speedway, just down the road on Long Island. Wade started on the pole besides Ned Jarrett, a driver with whom he had developed a bit of a rivalry. The two drivers combined to lead all 300 laps at the tight 0.2-mile track. Wade led the first 97 and Jarrett led the next 95 before Wade took the lead for good, winning number three.

Wade’s fourth win came on July 19 at Watkins Glen International. Again it was Ned Jarrett standing between Wade and Victory Lane. The Texan made the race-winning pass of Jarrett on Lap 36, and led the final 30 laps of the race.

"Winning races changes your outlook," Wade said. "My spirits are up right now. I'm looking for ways to win now, rather than expecting something to happen that will make you lose. I’ve got a new attitude."

Wade never returned to Victory Lane. His life was cut short during a tire test at Daytona International Speedway in January 1965. There was a silver lining to the tragedy – his death spurred team owner Moore to reevaluate his drivers’ restraint system, which eventually led to the development of the "submarine belt" between a driver’s legs.


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