This is starting to get historic now. We’re six races into the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season and we’ve already had six different winners. The question is, how long does this streak continue?
If you go back to the Richmond playoff race of last year and you’d see that out of the last 15 races run, we’ve had 13 different drivers reach victory lane during this span including seven straight dating back to Chase Elliott’s win at Phoenix last November.
Brad Keselowski (Richmond), Kevin Harvick (Bristol), Kurt Busch (Las Vegas), Denny Hamlin (Talladega) Elliott (ROVAL), Joey Logano (Kansas), Kyle Busch (Texas) and Elliott (Phoenix) closed out the final nine races of last season.
This year, you get Michael McDowell (Daytona 500), Christopher Bell (Daytona road course), William Byron (Homestead), Kyle Larson (Las Vegas), Martin Truex Jr. (Phoenix) and Ryan Blaney (Atlanta) this year so far.
So, how far does this streak keep going moving forward? I can see this continuing on for a little while longer. Four of the top six in the points standings have yet to win this season and with what’s coming up, I can see them picking up wins during then.
I mean, you have Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick combining for 13 wins last year. They’re winless so far this season. Chase Elliott won five times a year ago including a championship. He too hasn’t won yet in 2021. That’s 18 wins among three drivers from 2020 that are shutout in 2021. I think a combo of them, if not all three, can win between now and the Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day weekend.
Let’s start with Sunday’s race at Bristol though. Bell and Larson should be the favorites for the dirt race this weekend, but this one will also be so unpredictable.
From there, you get to Martinsville where Brad Keselowski has five straight top five finishes and nine in his last 10 tries there. Joey Logano has three top fives in his last five tries including being fourth and third respectively a year ago. Hamlin, also has three top five results in his last five Martinsville tries while his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate of Kyle Busch has eight in his last 11 starts there. Chase Elliott has three top fives including two top two’s in his last four Martinsville starts.
Does a winner come from them?
What about at Richmond?
Keselowski won there last year and has eight straight top 10’s at. Logano, was third a year ago and has two top threes in his last four tries including five top four’s in his last six there. Hamlin, has seven top sixes in his last nine Richmond starts with Kyle Busch scoring a top two result in half of his last 10 starts there including three top two’s in his last five overall. Elliott was fifth last Fall while Kevin Harvick has eight top sevens in his last nine Richmond tries himself.
Next you get Talladega where Hamlin has a top five in five straight superspeedway starts. I mean, it’s Talladega after all, so anything is possible.
With that said, I can see this streak going to nine and maybe even 10 races with a different winner in each to start 2021. That would get us through the month of April.
There’s also this streak too – the 1.5-mile different winner streak. On Sunday, Blaney became the 12th straight different winner on them as this streak dates back to the second Charlotte race after the ‘600 last May. Elliott won that day. Kevin Harvick (Atlanta), Denny Hamlin (Homestead), Cole Custer (Kentucky), Austin Dillon (Texas), Brad Keselowski (Kansas), Kurt Busch (Las Vegas), Joey Logano (Kansas), Kyle Busch (Texas), William Byron (Homestead), Kyle Larson (Las Vegas) and now Blaney (Atlanta).
Kansas is the first race of May which is on a 1.5-mile track. Could that streak could extend to 13. Hamlin and Logano won at Kansas last year. Combined, Hamlin (twice), Keselowski, Logano, Elliott and Harvick have won the last six races at Kansas, so there’s a great chance one of them wins there in May. Then you go to Darlington and Dover to where Harvick and Hamlin combined to win both races at each track a year ago, then to COTA and the Coke 600 to follow.
Can we get a new winner at each?
As you can see, there’s a chance that we could have 10-12 by time we leave Memorial Day weekend and head into June.
The Modern Era record of different winners to start a NASCAR Cup Series season is 10 set back in 2000. Dale Earnhardt Jr. snapped the streak winning his second race of the 2000 season at Richmond (Race No. 11).
|2000||1||Dale Jarrett||Daytona||Sunday, February 20, 2000|
|2000||2||Bobby Labonte||Rockingham||Sunday, February 27, 2000|
|2000||3||Jeff Burton||Las Vegas||Sunday, March 5, 2000|
|2000||4||Dale Earnhardt||Atlanta||Sunday, March 12, 2000|
|2000||5||Ward Burton||Darlington||Sunday, March 19, 2000|
|2000||6||Rusty Wallace||Bristol||Sunday, March 26, 2000|
|2000||7||Dale Earnhardt Jr||Texas||Sunday, April 2, 2000|
|2000||8||Mark Martin||Martinsville||Sunday, April 9, 2000|
|2000||9||Jeff Gordon||Talladega||Sunday, April 16, 2000|
|2000||10||Jeremy Mayfield||Auto Club||Sunday, April 30, 2000|
In the Modern Era (1972-2021), the record for the most different NASCAR Cup Series winners in a single season in its entirety is 19 set back in 2001. The series has also seen a total of 18 different winners (second-most) in a single season twice – in 2002 and 2011. Last season the series produced 13 different winners.