DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 17: Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Low cost Tire Ford, leads through the NASCAR Cup Collection 62nd Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona Worldwide Speedway on February 17, 2020 in Daytona Seaside, Florida. (Photograph by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Pictures)
Check out which NASCAR Cup Collection drivers might sweep the Daytona 500, the Coca-Cola 600, the Southern 500 and the Brickyard 400 in a single season, plus which drivers have come shut.
There are 4 races which have established themselves over time as NASCAR’s crown jewel occasions. With a mixture of historical past and status, the crown jewels are the Daytona 500, the World 600, the Southern 500 and the Brickyard 400.
The Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway dates again the furthest, with the primary race in 1950, adopted by the “Nice American Race” at Daytona Worldwide Speedway, which began in 1959.
The World 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, now often called the Coca-Cola 600, started the next yr, whereas the newest addition is the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which had its inaugural race held in 1994.
Earlier than the addition of the Brickyard 400, two drivers swept the crown jewels in a single season. LeeRoy Yarbrough received at Daytona and Darlington within the #98 Ford and at Charlotte within the #98 Mercury, all driving for Junior Johnson in 1969. Lower than a decade later, David Pearson swept the three races, driving the #21 Mercury for Wooden Brothers Racing in 1976.
For the reason that addition of Indianapolis, two drivers have come near sweeping, however none have achieved so. Dale Jarrett received at Daytona, Charlotte and Indianapolis in 1996, driving the #88 Ford for Robert Yates Racing. At Darlington, he led early, pacing the sphere for 23 of 367 laps, however he in the end completed in 14th place whereas Jeff Gordon grabbed the victory.
Gordon took the baton into 1997, successful the Daytona 500 and Coca-Cola 600 aboard the #24 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports. With 25 laps to go in Indianapolis, he was main when he was handed by Jarrett.
Gordon completed in fourth place after main 25 laps, whereas Ricky Rudd took the lead from Jarrett whereas staying out throughout a warning and went on to take the win. Gordon later grabbed the victory within the Southern 500, making it three out of 4.
The story of the following crown jewel occasion belonged to Dale Earnhardt, who broke his notorious run of dangerous luck to win his solely Daytona 500 in 1998.
Gordon completed in 16th place after main 56 laps. Whereas it was Earnhardt had the prospect to comb, it was Gordon who went on to win the opposite three crown jewel races, whereas Earnhardt recorded two high 5 finishes, with a fifth place end at Indianapolis and a fourth place end at Darlington.
Past these shut calls, it’s not unusual to have a driver win two crown jewel races in a season. However can anybody sweep every of these 4 races in a given yr?
Denny Hamlin is the one driver with an opportunity in 2020, assuming NASCAR is ready to run all 4 crown jewel races, along with his victory within the season-opening Daytona 500.
Whereas Hamlin has but to win at Charlotte, he ranks second in common end there amongst energetic drivers at 12.26. He has 9 high 5 finishes and 17 high 10 finishes in 27 begins on the observe.
At Indianapolis, the place he additionally has no wins, he ranks third amongst energetic drivers with 5 high 5 finishes and eight high 10 finishes in 14 begins. His common end on the observe is 12.36.
And at Darlington, Hamlin is tied for first amongst energetic drivers with three wins. He has 9 high 5 finishes and 13 high 10 finishes in 16 begins with a mean end of seven.19, second finest amongst energetic drivers.
Hamlin has first rate stats at these tracks, however with out wins at Charlotte and Indianapolis, his probabilities to comb the crown jewels are most likely not one of the best. Nonetheless, he has 5 crown jewel wins between Daytona and Darlington, so that you by no means know.
One driver who has run properly in any respect 4 tracks is Jimmie Johnson. Certain, his win totals are helped by his twenty years of Cup Collection expertise and his place as one of many sport’s best drivers of all-time, however he’s not the one veteran driver and championship winner, so the stats nonetheless say rather a lot.
Johnson was and nonetheless is planning to retire after this yr, however he has remained open to the potential of returning, relying on how the 2020 schedule shapes up amid the pandemic. So let’s say he has an opportunity to return and sweep the races in 2021.
His success at these 4 tracks is clearly seen by means of his outcomes and ranks amongst energetic drivers.
Daytona: three wins (T-1st), 12 high 5 finishes (2nd), 16 high 10 finishes (2nd), 18.35 common end (11th)Charlotte: eight wins (1st), 16 high 5 finishes (1st), 22 high 10 finishes (1st), 12.20 common end (1st)Indianapolis: 4 wins (1st), six high 5 finishes (2nd), seven high 10 finishes (T-4th), 16.50 common end (12th)Darlington: three wins (T-1st), 9 high 5 finishes (T-2nd), 13 high 10 finishes (T-2nd), 13.04 common end (eighth)
Johnson’s current common finishes and his previous few seasons as an entire haven’t been his finest, as he’s at present driving a career-long win drought of 101 races relationship again to June of 2017. However he does know the right way to win at these tracks.
General, Johnson has 12 wins within the crown jewel races, together with successful two in a season on three events. Might an surprising return be adopted by an surprising sweep to cap off his illustrious profession?
When taking a look at different energetic drivers who might sweep the races, collection veterans Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch come to thoughts.
Harvick is persistently one of many higher drivers at these 4 tracks, although his stats at Indianapolis stand out.
Daytona: two wins (Third), 10 high 5 finishes (Third), 15 high 10 finishes (Third), 17.50 common end (sixth)Charlotte: three wins (T-2nd), eight high 5 finishes (4th), 17 high 10 finishes (T-Third), 15.39 common end (eighth)Indianapolis: two wins (T-2nd), seven high 5 finishes (1st), 13 high 10 finishes (1st), eight.95 common end (1st)Darlington: two wins (Third), 10 high 5 finishes (1st), 14 high 10 finishes (1st), 13.36 common end (10th)
Much like Johnson’s, Harvick’s common finishes is probably not one of the best, however he has discovered a solution to win over the course of his twenty years of Cup Collection expertise. General, Harvick has six wins in crown jewel occasions.
With a bit much less expertise than Johnson and Harvick, Busch additionally has the stats to show that he might sweep the crown jewel races.
Daytona: one win (T-4th), eight high 5 finishes (Fifth), 9 high 10 finishes (T-Seventh), 18.97 common end (14th)Charlotte: one win (T-4th), 13 high 5 finishes (2nd), 18 high 10 finishes (2nd), 14.57 common end (sixth)Indianapolis: two wins (T-2nd), 5 high 5 finishes (T-Third), 11 high 10 finishes (2nd), 12.47 common end (sixth)Darlington: one win (T-4th), 5 high 5 finishes (T-Fifth), 11 high 10 finishes (Fifth), 11.41 common end (sixth)
Busch has 4 crown jewel wins, three of which got here between 2015 and 2018. Whereas he isn’t one of many winningest drivers within the huge occasions, he is among the finest energetic drivers at these 4 tracks. He has additionally been in a position to win nearly in every single place and in each collection. A flexible racer, it could be no shock to see him sweep the crown jewels earlier than hanging up his helmet.
In case you’re on the lookout for a pair of longshots to comb the crown jewels, yow will discover them at Crew Penske.
Brad Keselowski has two crown jewel wins in his decade-plus of Cup expertise, each of them coming in a single month. He received the Southern 500 and Brickyard 400 on back-to-back weekends in 2018.
Keselowski has additionally received at Daytona and Charlotte in his profession, simply not of their prestigious occasions. His finest common end amongst these 4 tracks is 10.38 at Darlington, which is fourth finest amongst energetic drivers, whereas he additionally averages high 15 finishes at each Charlotte and Indianapolis.
Joey Logano has just one crown jewel win, with that coming within the Daytona 500 in 2015, though he has additionally received at Charlotte within the fall race. He has a 17.78 common end at Daytona, which is spectacular contemplating the race-ending wrecks that are widespread there. It ranks seventh amongst energetic drivers.
Elsewhere, Logano has a 12.50 common end at Charlotte, which is tied for third finest amongst energetic drivers, and a 10.91 common end at Indianapolis, which is second finest. His 15.77 common end at Darlington ranks 11th finest amongst energetic drivers.
It has been over twenty years since a driver was one win away from sweeping the crown jewel races in a single season. Can the sweep ever be achieved? If historical past is an indicator, most likely not. Is it doable? Certain. There are nonetheless a handful of drivers to maintain your eye on in any respect 4 of those tracks.
Subsequent: Prime 10 NASCAR drivers of all-time
Sweep or no sweep, the historical past and status of those well-known NASCAR Cup Collection occasions is one factor that can proceed. These are 4 races and a couple of,000 miles price watching annually.