The driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry is enjoying his offseason, but he will soon begin preparing for the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season. This year will be pivotal for Kyle Busch considering that he can make history by winning one race and becoming the only driver to match a legend.
The two-time champion is currently in a tie with David Pearson for the second-most consecutive seasons with a win (17). Busch’s streak began in 2005 while Pearson’s ran from 1964-1980. They both sit one spot behind Richard Petty, who holds the all-time record with 18 consecutive seasons with a win.
The King, who also holds the all-time wins record with 200 trips to Victory Lane, kicked off his historic streak in 1960. He won at least one race every single season until 1977, further cementing his legacy. This streak includes the 1971 season where Petty won 21 races.
Busch Will Try To Win & Capture a Crown Jewel
Matching Petty’s mark early in 2022 will not be a simple task. The reason is the location of the season-opening race. Busch has only won once at Daytona International Speedway in 33 starts while posting 11 DNFs.
Busch has accomplished a considerable amount in his career. He has won two Cup Series championships, reached Victory Lane 59 times in NASCAR’s top series, and he has captured four Crown Jewel trophies. He won the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway once (2008), the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway once (2018), and the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway twice (2015, 2016).
The Coca-Cola 600 was Busch’s most dominant performance in a Crown Jewel race. He won the pole, led 377 of the 400 laps, and captured the checkered flag in the red, white, and blue M&M’s Toyota Camry.
The only Crown Jewel that Busch has not captured is the Daytona 500. He has come close on three different occasions with top-five finishes. His best outing was in 2019 behind Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin, but his two most recent Daytona 500 starts resulted in DNFs.
If Busch can win the season-opening race in 2022, he will add two more achievements to his career. He will capture the fourth and final Crown Jewel, and he will also make history by tying Petty’s all-time mark. Adding another race win in 2023 would only cement his spot in NASCAR history.
Another Cup Series Champion Saw His Streak End in 2021
While Busch can continue to push to make history, another former Cup Series champion will no longer have the opportunity. Kevin Harvick, the driver of the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Mustang, failed to win a race in 2021 and brought his streak to an end at 11 years.
Harvick entered the year in a tie for 14th on the all-time list with Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett and Hamlin. The driver of the No. 11 won twice, moving his streak to 12 consecutive seasons and moving him into sole possession of 13th place. If Hamlin wins at least one race in 2022, he will tie Lee Petty and Cale Yarborough, moving one step closer to Jeff Gordon’s mark of 14 consecutive seasons. Harvick, however, will have to win again in 2022 and 2023 to restart the consecutive seasons with a win streak.
Brad Keselowski, on the other hand, took Harvick’s spot in 14th with a win of his own. He captured the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on April 25, moving his streak to 11 consecutive seasons. Keselowski will now have the opportunity to pass Jarrett in 2022 as he kicks off his tenure with RFK Racing.