Race Weekend Central

Stat Sheet: Rowdy’s Back

Stat Sheet is a returning column for Frontstretch that will discuss notable statistics and trends for races and the drivers competing in them. Each column will analyze the results of the previous NASCAR Cup Series weekend and then provide an outlook for the upcoming weekend. The final column of the year at Phoenix Raceway will analyze the championship race and the 2023 season in review.

A Monumental Victory

19: The number of consecutive seasons that Kyle Busch has won at least one race in the NASCAR Cup Series. By winning at Auto Club Speedway on Sunday (Feb. 26), Busch broke a tie with Richard Petty‘s 18 consecutive winning seasons.

95: The number of combined Cup wins between Kyle (61) and Kurt Busch (34). Kyle Busch’s win makes the Busch brothers the winningest pair of brothers in Cup Series history, passing Bobby Allison (84) and Donnie Allison (10).

  • With Richard (200) and Maurice Petty (0) combining for 200 Cup wins, the Busch brothers are winningest pair that saw both brothers score a win.

114: The number of races that Richard Childress Racing has won at the Cup level. Busch also becomes the 11th driver to win a Cup race for RCR.

5: The number of Cup races that Kyle Busch won on Auto Club Speedway’s two-mile configuration. With the track’s impending conversion to a short track, Busch will finish as Auto Club’s second-winningest Cup driver behind Jimmie Johnson (six).

23: The number of green-flag laps on Sunday where Busch was the fastest car on the racetrack. He was the fastest car the most times of any driver, just beating out Ross Chastain (22) and Kyle Larson (22).

Busch’s 61st Cup win puts him in sole possession of ninth on the all-time Cup Series win list, breaking a tie with Kevin Harvick. Eighth on the list? Seven-time champion Dale Earnhardt with 76.

Busch became the first driver to win in his second start with a team since Harvick with Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014 at Phoenix Raceway.

  • Both Harvick and Busch crashed on the final lap of the Daytona 500 and then won the following week. Harvick went on to win the championship. Will that hold true in 2023?

Sunday was the first Cup Series win in 74 starts for Lucas Oil as a primary sponsor.

  • Lucas Oil was most notably the sponsor of Morgan-McClure Motorsports in the mid-2000s. The sponsor’s previous best finish was eighth at the 2005 Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway with driver Mike Wallace.
See also
Stock Car Scoop: Is Kyle Busch an Early-Season Title Favorite?

Other Points of Interest

750: The number of consecutive starts that Harvick has made in the Cup Series dating back to Talladega Superspeedway in April 2002. He joins Jeff Gordon and Ricky Rudd as the only drivers to reach that mark.

  • Had it not been for a suspension at Martinsville Speedway in April 2002, Harvick would be just five starts away from breaking Gordon’s Ironman record of 797 consecutive.

91: The number of laps that Chastain led on Sunday. It marked the seventh-straight Cup race at Auto Club where one driver led at least 90 laps.

  • Sunday also marked the first time that Chastain swept the first two stages in Cup. And by virtue of his performance in the first two weeks, he will enter next week’s race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway as the outright points leader for the first time in his career.

632: The number of laps that Chastain has led since his last Cup win at Talladega in April. The current 28-race drought has seen him lead the most laps four times.

35.3: Christopher Bell‘s average finish in three starts at Auto Club in the Cup Series. The first two races saw him finish dead last after engine failures while he finished 32nd last Sunday after being collected in the big restart crash.

Joe Nemechek won the pole for the first Cup race at Auto Club in June 1997, which marked NASCAR’s national touring series debut at the track. The two-mile configuration was then bookended by his son, John Hunter Nemechek, who won the NASCAR Xfinity Series race on Sunday night after the Cup race.

Chevrolet went out with a bang by winning 10 of the final 15 Cup races on the two-mile oval. Together, Chevrolet and Busch combined for 13 wins in the final 15 races.

See also
The Big 6: Questions Answered After the 2023 Pala Casino 400

Up Next: Las Vegas

Joey Logano’s Stomping Grounds?

Las Vegas was given a second Cup race for 2018. In the 10 races since, Joey Logano has been the only multi-time winner with three wins between 2019-22.

In addition to having the most wins, Logano also has the best average finish (7.1) and second-most laps led (356) in the last 10 races at Las Vegas.

  • Harvick has the most laps led in the last 10 with 455. Worth noting, however, that Harvick has led only 342 total laps since the start of the 2021 season.

Hometown Triple Sweep?

In addition to his duties in the No. 8 Cup car on Sunday (March 5), Busch will run the No. 51 for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series on Friday (March 3) and come out of retirement in the NASCAR Xfinity Series to run Kaulig Racing’s No. 10 car on Saturday (March 4).

  • It’s his first triple duty since July 2020 at Texas Motor Speedway. In all his years of running in the Xfinity and Truck series, Busch has only pulled off the triple sweep twice (2010 and 2017 at Bristol Motor Speedway).

Busch has scored five wins at Las Vegas Motor Speedway between Xfinity (two) and Trucks (three), but his lone Cup win at Vegas came 14 years ago in 2009.

  • However, Busch was poised to win the Cup race one year ago until a caution came out in the closing laps. He then lost the race and was unable to make up enough ground after taking four tires for the final restart.

Other Stats to Know

Both Cup races last season saw the winning driver make the pass for the win in the final three laps.

  • A stark contrast from 2021, where Larson and Hamlin, respectively, dominated the closing laps in long green-flag runs.

Ford has had the upper hand in recent memory at Las Vegas. The manufacturer has won five of the last 10 races, while Chevrolet (three) and Toyota (two) constitute the other half.

Chase Elliott has led the most laps (178) of all active drivers that have yet to win in Cup at Las Vegas. Chastain follows close behind with 151 circuits out front.

Stay Tuned

The Pennzoil 400 Presented by Jiffy Lube is scheduled for Sunday, March 5, at 3:30 p.m. ET with TV coverage provided by FOX.

About the author

Stephen Stumpf is the NASCAR Content Director for Frontstretch, and his weekly columns include “Stat Sheet” and “4 Burning Questions.” Stephen also writes commentary, contributes weekly to the “Bringing the Heat” podcast and is frequently at the track for on-site coverage. A native of Texas, Stephen began following NASCAR at age 9 after attending his first race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Follow on Twitter @stephen_stumpf.

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