Truck race win brings back memories of Busch's rare feat
Kyle Busch’s Bristol win in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series on Wednesday night sprung thoughts of one of the most unique feats ever accomplished in NASCAR’s storied history.
His last truck win at Bristol Motor Speedway came three years ago, and started an unprecedented NASCAR national series weekend sweep. Busch went on to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series race and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race that weekend – a record 16 years in the making.
The first person to attempt the triple was Terry Labonte, who ran all three races at Richmond in 1995 (the trucks stopped racing at Richmond in 2005). He won the inaugural truck race there, but finished fifth in the NNS race and second in the Sprint Cup event.
Statistics suggest that there’s a decent chance Busch can do it again. A winner of four of the last six Nationwide Series events at Bristol, figure on a better-than-average chance that Busch wins Friday night's Food City 250 (7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN). That’ll leave, of course, the biggest challenge of the bunch – Saturday night’s IRWIN Tools Night Race (7:30 p.m. ET on ABC).
Before he even gets a chance to repeat history, let’s take a deeper statistical dive into that four-day span in 2010 – a weekend unlike any since the trucks came into existence in 1995. Consider it a #ThrowbackThursday edition of Looped In:
• Busch averaged a start of 7.3, winning the Keystone Light Pole Award in the truck race, and starting third in the Nationwide race and 19th in the Sprint Cup race. Of the 105 Bristol Sprint Cup races, only six were won by a driver with a lower starting position.
• Busch’s lowest running position that weekend was 33rd – and that was in truck race which had a field of 36.
• Busch’s average running position in the Nationwide Series race was a ridiculous 1.9, and he never fell lower than eighth.
• And because of that, all 20 of his passes were quality passes (passes of cars in the top 15 under green).
• Passing at Bristol skyrocketed with the repave of 2007 – in March of 2007, there were 991 green flag passes. In August of that year, there were 2,147. In the Sprint Cup race of 2010, Busch was only passed 27 times under green, an impressively low number for the times.
• Busch boasted triple-digit laps led figures in all three races, leading 116 laps in both the truck and Nationwide races and 283 in the Sprint Cup race.
• Those 283 laps led? That’s a slacker number for Kyle Busch, who once led 415 of the 500 laps at Bristol (in a runner-up finish).
• His driver ratings that weekend: Truck, 145.3; Nationwide, 145.6; Cup, 139.8. Busch has scored three perfect driver ratings of 150.0 at Bristol – twice in Nationwide (3/11 and 8/11) and once in truck (8/08).
But the only number that matters is 1.0, Busch’s average finish in the three Bristol races in late August, 2010. In the 16 years prior, no one had ever done that. And no one has matched in the three years since.
Until this weekend?