It looked like a dominant day at Dover for Kevin Harvick. I was combing box scores for the most laps led in a Dover win and comparing it to other dominant days.
Then a dreaded loose wheel struck, and I started preparing Aric Almirola notes. Winless droughts, four drivers from the same team winning in a season, all that good stuff.
It’s the life of a professional researcher. There are twists and turns — and spreadsheets. Lots and lots of spreadsheets.
But there are fun notes on Elliott too; my favorites are below.
Youngest for second win, take II
Last week, I led with how Ryan Blaney became the eighth driver in Cup series history to have multiple wins before turning 25. It was a solid note.
Well, Elliott saw my note (I presume) and laughed at it, telling me he could do better. Or maybe that was some sort of fever dream.
The end result was Elliott winning his second career Cup race prior to his 23rd birthday. He’s only the fourth driver in series history to win twice before turning 23 — the others are Kyle Busch (who did it at age 20!), Joey Logano and Richard Petty.
Petty was about a month younger than Elliott when he got the second of what would become 200 wins. Elliott is fourth-youngest. The fifth-youngest is Jeff Gordon, whom Elliott replaced at Hendrick Motorsports.
Speaking of Petty, he won the first two Cup races held at Dover, a place where Elliott can stake claim to be one of the track’s best drivers.
With a 4.3 average finish at the track, Elliott has the best mark of any driver with more than two starts there. Second on that list? David Pearson with an 8.0 mark.
Harvick’s laps led don’t pay off
Unless you’re playing fantasy or obsess over statistics, Harvick’s 286 laps led were for naught. He rebounded to finish sixth after his pit road issues, not a disastrous day by any means, and he picked up an additional two playoff points.
However, Harvick’s 286 laps led go down as one of the most dominant days at Dover that didn’t end with a victory.
Since Dover races moved from 500 to 400 scheduled laps during the 1997 season, Harvick had the third-most laps led in a race that he didn’t win.
It was the most since Kyle Busch led 302 before finishing seventh in 2012. Before that, Jeff Gordon led 375 of 400 laps in 1998, but ended up finishing third behind Dale Jarrett and Jeff Burton after he didn’t make it on fuel mileage.
That winner rings a bell
I had a realization that I’m going to have to get more creative with my titles for Christopher Bell sections, because it seems like he’s going to be doing a lot more winning.
By picking up a sixth Xfintiy Series win this season Saturday at Dover, Bell not only broke a record he shared with Carl Edwards (2005), Kyle Busch (2004) and Greg Biffle (2001), he also picked up his seventh career win in the series, to go along with seven career Truck Series wins.
He becomes the eighth driver in series history to win at least seven times in both of those series. If he comes up to the Cup series and makes it a proper jackpot (three 7’s), he’ll join the aforementioned Busch, Biffle and Harvick, along with Mark Martin, as drivers with seven wins in all three of the national series.
If you were curious, the only driver besides Bell (for now) with seven wins in Xfinity and Trucks but none in the Cup series is Todd Bodine.