LONG POND, Pa. — Kyle Larson is hoping to join exclusive company Saturday by winning his fourth consecutive NASCAR Cup Series points race during the Pocono Organics CBD 325.
Only eight times in the modern era of NASCAR — from 1972 to the present — has one driver won a quartet of races in succession at the top level of the sport, and the feat hasn’t been done since 2007.
Luckily for Larson, the last two times a driver won four straight points-paying starts in NASCAR’s premier series, it was someone from Hendrick Motorsports.
Jimmie Johnson took home back-to-back-to-back-to-back trophies during his second championship season in 2007, winning at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, Georgia’s Atlanta Motor Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway and Arizona’s Phoenix Raceway during a torrid stretch of playoff races.
Prior to Johnson, Jeff Gordon captured consecutive victories at Pocono, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Watkins Glen (N.Y.) Int’l and Michigan Int’l Speedway during the middle of the 1998 season en route to the Cup Series title.
In fact, five of the eight instances where a driver won four straight Cup Series races led to that driver earning the season title.
Mark Martin (1993), Bill Elliott (1992), Harry Gant (1991), Dale Earnhardt (1987), Darrell Waltrip (1981) and Cale Yarborough (1976) all won four Cup Series races in a row.
Earnhardt, Waltrip and Yarborough converted those runs of success into Cup Series championships.
Larson, from Elk Grove, Calif., has never won at the 2.5-mile Pocono Raceway, but he enters the first half of a twin-race weekend fresh off a dominant victory at Nashville Superspeedway in Lebanon, Tenn.
The 28-year-old has reached victory lane in a Cup Series car four times in a row already, dating back to his May 30 triumph in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, but one of those wins was in the non-points, $1 million-to-win NASCAR All-Star Race June 14 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Larson has already tied his career-high in victories for a single Cup Series season, with four, and his 1,426 laps led through the first 17 races of the year eclipses the 1,352 laps he led during the entire 2017 campaign.
A fourth straight points-paying win Saturday would put Larson in elite territory. It would also erase any doubt in his status as the Cup Series championship favorite going into the back half of the season.
Should Larson succeed in his quest for four straight on Saturday, he’d have a chance to set a new modern-era record with a fifth straight Cup Series win during the second half of Pocono’s doubleheader weekend on Sunday afternoon.