NASCAR Cup drivers are streaking toward the ‘Best Season Ever’ with different winners in every race this season to date. Can they keep the streak alive for the next six races and beyond to break records and make history?
NASCAR is promoting the Cup Series this year as the ‘Best Season Ever.’ So far, the results after five races are backing up that statement.
A fan-favorite but a little bit of an underdog, Michael McDowell won the coveted season-opening Daytona 500. Future superstars Christopher Bell and William Byron picked up surprising victories earlier than many expected at the Daytona Road Course and Homestead. Kyle Larson is back and demonstrating what he can do in top-notch equipment with his win at Las Vegas. Finally, at Phoenix Raceway in the fifth race of the year, fans could anticipate the winner as Martin Truex, Jr. Yet, his victory was still a little shocking. In his 30 previous starts, Truex has scored only four top-five finishes.
What does that mean for the next string of six races?
With 11 of last year’s winners and championship contenders yet to find their way to victory lane, expect the intensity level to ramp up. Drivers in this situation will most likely eventually claim a trophy. And fans could see history in the making.
The History on the Number of Different Winners Streak
Throughout the Modern Era (1972-2021), the ‘five different winners’ to start a season streak is listed 14 times. The most recent year is 2017. But before then, the streak went back-to-back in 2013 and ’14.
The longest different winners’ streak was in 2000, with ten different drivers celebrating a victory. In race number 11, Dale Earnhardt Jr became the first driver to repeat with another win.
The good news for race fans is the consecutive different winners’ record just might be broken this season, with the perennial winners who are still without a victory. Below are the next new race winner predictions for the next six events on the schedule.
Atlanta Motor Speedway
Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick have four wins in the last five races on the worn-out asphalt of Atlanta.
Harvick won a career-high nine times throughout last year.
Both drivers have been in contention to win several times this year, but Keselowski with Team Penske has been there more frequently. He’s also been closer to a win at the finish of the race than the Stewart-Haas Racing driver.
The checkered flag goes to Brad Keselowski
Bristol Motor Speedway (Dirt)
Bristol on dirt is an opportunity for several drivers to capture a victory. The upcoming weekend at Bristol is the first time these drivers have ever run on dirt at this track, making a race-winner prediction up for grabs.
While the odds might favor the more veteran drivers, racers like Bell and Larson are expert drivers on dirt tracks. And, there are perhaps a couple more drivers that cannot be counted out as potential winners. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr historically runs well at Bristol, as does Bubba Wallace. Tyler Reddick and Chase Briscoe also come from dirt track career paths.
Bell, Larson, Briscoe, Wallace, and Austin Dillon all have a victory in the NASCAR Camping World Trucks Series on dirt, albeit at Eldora Speedway. Dillon also picked up a win on a dirt track this past week in a late-model. So, when the dust settles on the Bristol dirt…
Austin Dillon gets the checkered flag.
The ‘Paperclip’ racetrack provides some intense, door-banging, bumper-to-bumper action almost every time the green flag flies.
When reviewing the past two to six races at Martinsville, Joey Logano is frequently caught up in incidents on videos, while teammate Ryan Blaney consistently finishes in the top-five.
But Hendrick Motorsports has a good history here. Chase Elliott won last fall to advance for the Championship 4 and eventually take home the 2021 Championship.
The checkered flag goes to Chase Elliott
Joe Gibbs Racing is the organization with the momentum at the other Virginia track in Richmond. Three of their current drivers combine for 11 victories, led by Kyle Busch with six wins.
Denny Hamlin likes to win in front of his hometown crowd and has been top-five weekly and leading the point standings without a win.
The checkered flag goes to Denny Hamlin
Superspeedway racing is always a wildcard, and sometimes the race is all about surviving. Some will say any driver can win at Talladega. Yet, there are a few teams that tend to stand out among the rest. Winning drivers manage to be in the right place at the right time to race across the finish line first.
More often than not, bet on Team Penske to take the checkered flag across the board.
The mid-west track holds the potential to host a pivotal record-breaking event. If it comes to fruition, the race will be heavily hyped. So, expect lots of pressure and desperation to be in full force, especially for teams without wins. Those teams will play hard to ensure they are in contention in the 2021 playoff races.
Two of NASCAR’s biggest stars have won at Kansas before. Kyle Busch with one victory and Harvick with three. Busch is again having an up and down season similar to his last two years.
This potentially high-pressure checkered flag goes to Kevin Harvick
NASCAR Cup Series Streaking Toward the ‘Best Season Ever’
The next six races have the potential for an upset winner or another first-time victory. The chance of 11 different winners in the first 11 races has an engaging appeal. That means fans may see more history in the making for NASCAR. And that is an exciting idea to think about.
Beyond that though, there’s this another idea. What if there are even more winners?
Since expanding the playoff berths to 16, the most different winners’ to lock in their playoff spot is in the 2017 season with 13. The marks another opportunity to break another NASCAR record.
For the first time under the playoff system, it is possible that a win may not guarantee a playoff spot. And that idea as well could make this year for NASCAR the ‘Best Season Ever.