Published On: Sat, Jul 28th, 2018

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series: Chasing History

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup SeriesYou know they’ve been good. But exactly how good have Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. been this season? The trio of drivers (Harvick – six wins, Busch – five and Truex – four) have combined to win 15 of the opening 20 contests.

2018 marks just the seventh season in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series history to see three drivers record four or more wins through the first 20 races of the year. And the last time it happened was nearly two decades years ago when Dale Jarrett, Jeff Burton and Jeff Gordon won four apiece to tally 12 wins in the opening 20 races of 1999. Before that? You would have to go back to the powerhouse drivers of the 1970s.

And only twice in NASCAR’s illustrious history has a trio of driver won more through the first 20 races than the current “Big 3.”

In 1974, the trio of NASCAR Hall of Famers Cale Yarborough (eight), Richard Petty (seven) and David Pearson (four) combined to win 19 of the opening 20 races. Amazingly, those three drivers also accounted for the next six race trophies, giving the trio 23 straight race wins after Bobby Allison won the third race of the season. The streak was broken at race No. 26 – when Earl Ross won at Martinsville; the only victory in Ross’s career.

Three years later, Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip and Petty won 16 of the opening 20 and 17 of the first 21 races with Pearson breaking up the three-driver party with a win at Darlington in Race 22.

Here’s a look at the seven times in which three drivers have dominated so much of the opening 20 races of the season:

2018 – Kevin Harvick (6), Kyle Busch (5), Martin Truex Jr. (4) – 15 total

1999 – Jeff Burton (4), Jeff Gordon (4), Dale Jarrett (4) – 12 total

1978 – Cale Yarborough (5), Darrell Waltrip (5), David Pearson (4) – 14 total

1977 – Yarborough (7), Richard Petty (5), Waltrip (4) – 16 total

1974 – Yarborough (8), Petty (7), Pearson (4) – 19 total

1972 – Bobby Allison (6), Petty (5), Pearson (4) – 15 total

1962 – Jack Smith (4), Joe Weatherly (4), Rex White (4) – 12 total

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Next Race: Gander Outdoors 400
The Place: Pocono Raceway
The Date: Sunday, July 29
The Time: 2:30 p.m. ET
TV: NBCSN, 2 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 400 miles (160 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 50),
Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 100), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 160)

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