Win a NASCAR Sprint Cup race, and you’ve accomplished something impressive. A driver who can win two in a row has demonstrated he has the hang of this. Win three or more, and you’re making history. In eight decades of racing, only 19 Cup drivers have won three or more in a row. Today, we celebrate five of the best NASCAR winning streaks of all time.
Dale Earnhardt (4), March 29- April 26, 1987- On the road to the third of his seven championships, The Intimidator set the tone for a stellar 1987 campaign with a quartet of victories in the early going. Earnhardt went on to record 11 wins and 21 top fives in an era that also featured Bill Elliott, Bobby and Davey Allison, Darrell Waltrip and many more. Considering the competition, and what it did to cement his status, this has to rank among the most memorable winning streaks.
Bill Elliott (4) March 1- March 29, 1992- With a dramatic race to the championship involving Elliott, Davey Allison, Kyle Petty, Mark Martin, Harry Gant and Alan Kulwicki, the 1992 season may well have been NASCAR’s finest hour. Elliott’s streak came on an impressive array of tracks: Rockingham, Richmond, Atlanta and Darlington. As great as this winning streak was, it did not give “Awesome Bill from Dawsonville” the points lead, and the consistent “Underbird” of Alan Kulwicki seized the Winston Cup title. For what this added to a memorable season, Elliott’s 1992 was one of NASCAR’s greatest winning streaks.
Harry Gant (4) September 1- September 22, 1991- The original Mark Martin, “Handsome Harry” set the standard for NASCAR excellence over the age of 50 with a magical run that saw Gant take home trophies from Darlington, Richmond, Dover and Martinsville. The Martinsville was the hardest earned of the bunch. Gant crashed on lap 377, but with 50 to go, he passed Brett Bodine to win once again. Gant darn near won a fifth straight, but settled for second at North Wilkesboro when Dale Earnhardt passed Gant with 12 laps to go. Gant’s rival also grabbed the fifth of his seven titles that year, but the ’91 season was a memory maker for the driver who did not debut in stock car racing’s top series until he was 39. This is one of NASCAR’s most renown winning streaks if for no other reason than the “feel good” value.
Jeff Gordon (4) July 26- August 16, 1998- Jeff Gordon was well on his way to the third of his four NASCAR championships, reeling off a NASCAR “Modern Era” record of 13 wins on the season. Having already captured titles in 1995 and 1997, the “Rainbow Warrior” scored one for the ages in 1998, including a winning streak that spanned the late summer. The most impressive was the fourth consecutive scored at Michigan, where Gordon took the lead for the first time in the race with eight laps to go. Crew chief Ray Evernham made the call for two right-side tires, propelling his driver into the lead. The 27-year old bested Bobby Labonte by 1.8 seconds. This is one of NASCAR’s most memorable winning streaks as it further cemented the legacy of one of the best ever.
Richard Petty (10) August 12- October 1, 1967- Before Gordon’s “T Rex” car, Richard Petty was the original king of beasts in the summer of love. Out of 48 races run that season, “The King” won a mind-boggling 27- including 10 in a row. During the course of the season, Richard broke his father Lee’s record for career wins and won the second of his seven championships. While some critics may argue Petty enjoyed advantages few others did in his era, he still had to outrun such luminaries as David Pearson and Freddy Lorenzen, just name two. With all apologies to Curtis Turner, Petty was the true Babe Ruth of NASCAR, setting records that will never be broken, and achieving a level of fame that transcended racing circles. On the basis of sheer dominance, this has to rate as the king of NASCAR winning streaks.
To be sure, there are numerous other NASCAR winning streaks worthy of mention: Jimmie Johnson’s four-race winning streak in 2007 that helped him race past Jeff Gordon for his second of five straight championships, Petty’s six race streak in 1971, and Bobby Allison also took five in a row that same season.