Third consecutive win puts Brad Keselowski in elite NASCAR company
With his win in the South Point 400 last Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Brad Keselowski not only clinched a spot in the next round of the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, he reached some remarkable racing milestones as well.
First and most talked about in the race’s immediate aftermath, Keselowski’s win was the 500th in the long, storied history of Penske Racing across all forms of motorsports. Second and of even more significance going forward, it was his third win in a row, putting him in the elite company of 15 of NASCAR’s all-time greats who have won three consecutive races or more in a given stretch.
Keselowski, the 2012 NASCAR champion, admitted in his post-race comments, “I feel like we stole the last three races,” which included wins in the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway and the Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard. But stolen victories count just the same, and the three straight put him in a position to join even more elite company should he be able to win the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway next Saturday night.
According to NASCAR.com, in NASCAR’s modern era (1972 to present), there have now been 26 instances where drivers have won three (and some four) straight races. The really good news for Keselowski? In 10 of those instances, the driver has gone on to win the championship that season.
Some of the highlights include:
- Bobby Allison winning three in a row for the very first time in the modern era at Bristol, Trenton and Atlanta in 1972.
- Richard Petty winning three races in a row in 1974 and 1975 en route to consecutive Winston Cup championships, two of his seven all time. He won at Atlanta, Pocono and Talladega in 1974 and Bristol, Atlanta and North Wilkesboro in 1975.
- Cale Yarborough winning four in a row for the first time in 1976 to claim the first of his three straight NASCAR Winston Cup championships. Those wins came at Richmond, Dover, Martinsville and North Wilkesboro.
- Dale Earnhardt went for a double dip in 1987, becoming the only driver to post multiple winning streaks of three or more in the same season as he won the third of his seven Winston Cup championships. “The Intimidator” reeled off consecutive wins at Darlington, North Wilkesboro, Bristol and Martinsville (he actually won six in a seven-race stretch) early in the season and three more at Bristol, Darlington and Richmond later in the year.
- Rusty Wallace became the first driver to post three strings of three straight in 1994 with wins at Dover, Pocono and Michigan. He had previously won three straight in 1988 (Charlotte, North Wilkesboro and Rockingham) and in 1993 (Bristol, North Wilkesboro and Martinsville).
- Jeff Gordon became the only driver to tie Wallace with three three-straight strings and did it in unique fashion, winning the last two races of 1998 (Rockingham and Atlanta) and then the Daytona 500 to open the 1999 season. Gordon also posted a historic season in 1996 with wins at Dover, Martinsville and North Wilkesboro, and earlier in 1998 he had won four in row (Pocono, Indianapolis, Watkins Glen and Michigan) en route the third of his four championships.
- Keselowski became the third driver to record a three-straight string in 2018. Earlier in the season, Kevin Harvick won at Atlanta, Las Vegas and Phoenix, and Kyle Busch won at Texas, Richmond and Bristol.
Here are the other drivers who round out this exclusive club:
In the modern era, no NASCAR driver has won five consecutive races, but with the roll he’s currently on, it looks like Keselowski certainly has a chance this year, and it would be fun to see. H&A