NASCAR: Kyle Busch matches Richard Petty in ninth try

Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

Kyle Busch tied Richard Petty’s consecutive winning seasons record with his win in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

You have to take wins any way you can get them in the NASCAR Cup Series, and that includes “backing into” them.

That’s exactly what Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch did on Sunday night in the dirt race at Bristol Motor Speedway when race leaders Tyler Reddick and Chase Briscoe made contact in turn four of the four-turn, 0.533-mile (0.858-kilometer) oval in Bristol, Tennessee on the final lap.

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Reddick took the lead of this 250-lap race with 100 laps to go behind the wheel of his #8 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet. He led the next 99.

Briscoe, who led 59 laps earlier in the race, tried to take the lead from Reddick with a slide job in the final corner. But both the #8 Chevrolet and Briscoe’s #14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford got loose and spun.

Reddick was able to point his car toward the finish line and keep going, but the loss of momentum allowed Busch’s #18 Toyota to catch up and take the checkered flag, just 0.330 seconds ahead of him.

Busch led only the race’s 250th and final lap.

With his win in the 2022 season’s ninth race, the 2022 season because the 18th consecutive winning season for the 36-year-old Las Vegas, Nevada native, tying the all-time record set by seven-time champion Richard Petty from 1960 to 1977.

Busch had been tied for second place on the all-time consecutive winning seasons list with the late David Pearson. The three-time champion won at least one race each year from 1964 to 1980.

On multiple occasions, Busch’s streak came close to ending, but he was able to keep it alive. Not including the 2022 season, he has five one-win seasons. He won just one race in 2006, 2007, 2012, 2014 and 2020.

In 2020, it looked as though Busch’s streak would end at 15 seasons. But he managed to extend it to 16 in the 36-race season’s 34th race.

By the time he finally found victory lane, he had already been eliminated from playoff contention. Despite having qualified for the Championship 4 for five straight years entering the 2020 season, he was eliminated in the 2020 postseason’s round of 12. Prior to his somewhat surprising round of 8 win, no non-championship-eligible driver had won a race since 2017.

Busch’s first opportunity to break Petty’s record is set to come in next year’s Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway, a race which Busch has still not won in 17 attempts. This race is scheduled to take place on Sunday, February 19, 2023.

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But Petty fans need not worry about one aspect of this streak. Petty won at least two races in each of his 18 consecutive winning seasons, something Busch cannot say. The only driver to come relatively close to that record is fellow seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson, who did so for 16 straight years from 2002 to 2017.