What do a mix of former and current NASCAR drivers Richard Petty, Bobby Allison, Dale Earnhardt, Bill Elliott, Harry Gant, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin, David Pearson, Billy Wade, Darrell Waltrip and Cale Yarborough all have in common?
They are the only 12 drivers in the history of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series with four consecutive victories.
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Flavor Vote Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), will look to be the 13th driver to join this exclusive list in Sunday’s Geico 500 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway as he shoots for his fourth consecutive win. Busch is on a win streak that started earlier this month at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, followed by wins at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway two weekends ago and Richmond (Va.) International Speedway last weekend.
Busch captured three consecutive wins once before during a midsummer run that helped vault him to the 2015 Cup Series championship – back-to-back-to-back wins at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, and his first Brickyard 400 win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The following week at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, Busch came painfully close to joining the four-in-a-row club when, while leading on the final lap, he ran out of fuel exiting turn two and all he could do was coast back to the finish line as then-JGR teammate Matt Kenseth raced by for the win.
Seven-time Cup Series champion Johnson was the most recent driver to win four in a row and is also the only driver who has scored four consecutive wins this century. Johnson’s streak came in October and November 2007 and he rode that momentum to his second Cup Series championship.
Interestingly enough, of the 12 drivers in this exclusive club, five went on to win the Cup Series championship the same year they won four races in a row. Yarborough in 1976, Waltrip in 1981, Earnhardt in 1987, Gordon in 1998 and Johnson all compiled four consecutive wins en route the season championship.
Beyond the four-in-a-row club, Petty and Allison are the only two drivers to win five or more races in a row. In 1971, Allison won five in a row and Petty won six in a row. The most prolific win streak in Cup Series history, of course, is Petty’s seemingly untouchable 10 consecutive wins in 1967, the same year he won a record 27 races in all.
While Busch and his No. 18 M&M’S Flavor Vote team is capable of winning at any track, it will be a particular challenge for him this weekend at the mammoth, 2.66-mile Talladega oval, where he’s had many ups and downs. Compared to Bristol, where he has six total wins, and Richmond, where he has five, Busch has won just once in 25 career starts at Talladega. His lone win came in April 2008, and he has accumulated 12 other top-15 finishes at the track but also exited five outings early due to accidents.
Busch will bring back the same scheme he debuted during last weekend’s win at Richmond as the M&M’S brand has recently launched three, brand-new, limited-edition flavors as part of its second Flavor Vote campaign: Crunchy Espresso, Crunchy Raspberry and Crunchy Mint. The new flavors are on sale at select retailers nationwide, where fans can purchase and try each new flavor and cast a vote for their favorite once a day until May 25.
Each new M&M’S flavor is made with dark chocolate and is wrapped in the brand’s signature colorful crispy shell, offering fans a chocolatey crunch in every bite. The Crunchy Raspberry variety features a regular rice crisp center, and the Crunchy Espresso and Crunchy Mint varieties feature a cocoa rice crisp center.
So as Busch heads to Talladega this weekend, he would like nothing more than to continue his latest weekly celebration in victory lane as he shoots for not only his second top-series win there, but to join the NASCAR Cup Series exclusive four-in-a-row club.