Team Penske’s Joey Logano made history last weekend winning the first race on dirt in the NASCAR Cup Series in over 50 years and the first at Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt. In the process, Logano kept the streak of different winners to start the season alive making the 2021 season the fifth different year in the NASCAR Cup Series Modern Era (1972-2021) to start with seven different drivers in Victory Lane; joining 2014, 2003, 2000 and 1991.
Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin combined to win 13 races a year ago. They’re shutout of victory lane through seven races of the 2021 season. Kyle Busch is the only multi time champion in the sport today. He’s also not won this year. Brad Keselowski made the Championship 4 a year ago and a series champion (2012). He’s 0-for-7.
Instead, we’ve had seven races run and seven different winners. So, with both said, how much longer does this odd streak continue?
We go to Martinsville next where Keselowski has five straight top five finishes and nine in his last 10 tries there. 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?
Logano has three top fives in his last five tries including being fourth and third respectively a year ago. Truex, won last year’s race in June and the playoff race the year prior. If we get a multi time winner on the season, it would be in two weeks among these two.
Both of them have been strong at Richmond too. 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. Truex, swept both races at Richmond in 2019.
What about the rest?
Keselowski won there last year and has eight straight top 10’s at. 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. Last week in Atlanta, 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.
If the 2021 season sees an eighth different victor this weekend it will become just the third different season in the NASCAR Cup Series Modern Era (1972-Present) to start with eight different winners in the first eight races; joining 2003 and 2000.
|2021||1||Michael McDowell||Daytona||Sunday, February 14, 2021|
|2021||2||Christopher Bell||Daytona RC||Sunday, February 21, 2021|
|2021||3||William Byron||Homestead||Sunday, February 28, 2021|
|2021||4||Kyle Larson||Las Vegas||Sunday, March 7, 2021|
|2021||5||Martin Truex Jr||Phoenix||Sunday, March 14, 2021|
|2021||6||Ryan Blaney||Atlanta||Sunday, March 21, 2021|
|2021||7||Joey Logano||Bristol Dirt||Monday, March 29, 2021|
The Modern Era record of different winners to start a NASCAR Cup Series season is 10 set back in 2000. NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt Jr. snapped the different winners streak by 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|
The next longest streak of different winners to start a season in the NASCAR Cup Series Modern Era belongs to 2003 with nine consecutive different winners. Kurt Busch snapped the streak of different winners by winning his second race of the 2003 season at Auto Club Speedway (Race No. 10).
|2003||1||Michael Waltrip||Daytona||Sunday, February 16, 2003|
|2003||2||Dale Jarrett||Rockingham||Sunday, February 23, 2003|
|2003||3||Matt Kenseth||Las Vegas||Sunday, March 2, 2003|
|2003||4||Bobby Labonte||Atlanta||Sunday, March 9, 2003|
|2003||5||Ricky Craven||Darlington||Sunday, March 16, 2003|
|2003||6||Kurt Busch||Bristol||Sunday, March 23, 2003|
|2003||7||Ryan Newman||Texas||Sunday, March 30, 2003|
|2003||8||Dale Earnhardt Jr||Talladega||Sunday, April 6, 2003|
|2003||9||Jeff Gordon||Martinsville||Sunday, April 13, 2003|
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.