Parity used to ring kind in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. But, over the last calendar year, that is becoming to be a foregone conclusion. In fact, if you go back to one year ago today, 36 races to be exact, three drivers are leaps and bounds better than anyone else competing in the series on a full time basis. There are 36 races in a Cup season, so this in theory is a full seasons worth of data.
Take a look at what Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick are doing in that time frame.
Since last year’s June race at the Michigan International Speedway, (36 races ago) that trio of drivers have combined to win 66-percent of the overall races. Busch leads all drivers with nine wins in those 36 races, while Truex and Harvick have won eight and seven races respectively. But, if you want to throw in Kyle Larsons’ three wins in that time frame, then those four drivers have combined to win 27 of the last 36 races (75-percent). The only other driver with more than one win in the last 36 races is Denny Hamlin with two. But, he’s a Joe Gibbs Racing driver, meaning that JGR and Toyota get another victory.
Out of the rest of the drivers to win, four different drivers have won the four restrictor plate races. In theory, you can somewhat take that out then. Those are wildcard events. So, if you take those races out, Busch, Truex, Harvick and Larson have won 84-percent of the overall races over the last calendar year (27 of 32). That leaves five wins left. Matt Kenseth (2017 Phoenix), Kasey Kahne (2017 Brickyard 400), Clint Bowyer (2018 Martinsville) and Hamlin (2017 Darlington, New Hampshire). Out of that list, only Bowyer’s win came this season.
So, if you take 2018 for example, Busch, Truex and Harvick have won every race with the exception of Martinsville that wasn’t contested on a restrictor plate track. If you go back to New Hampshire last July, 30 races ago, they’ve won every race outside of plate tracks minus Martinsville (April 2018), Phoenix (November 2017) and Darlington (September 2017).
That goes to show that Daytona and Talladega are the great equalizers and that this trio will forego being dominant in the big races (Daytona 500, Brickyard 400, Southern 500, etc) to make up for it in dominance everywhere else.
If you want to win a Cup Series race in 2018, the odds are highly against you.
Plus, look at the teams winning. Joe Gibbs Racing, Furniture Row Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing have won 31 of the last 36 races. That’s 86-percent. Take Daytona and Talladega out and it’s 31 of 32 races. Hendrick Motorsports won at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year.
So, if you don’t drive for Gibbs, Furniture Row, SHR or Ganassi, you have a 3-percent chance of winning on a non restrictor plate track. If you race for those teams and your name is Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick or Martin Truex Jr., you have just a 25-percent chance of winning.
That’s how dominant that those teams and drivers have been.