The NASCAR notebook …
It wasn’t the most successful season for former Cup champion Kurt Busch, but at least he kept alive his string of seasons with at least one victory.
Busch stretched that string to seven seasons when he won the rain-shortened race at New Hampshire in June.
“That’s something that I am really proud of, to have been to Victory Lane at least once during each and every season that I’ve been a full-time (Cup) driver,” Busch said. “When you look at great racers like Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth and Kevin Harvick, who were not able to continue their winning streaks this season, it certainly magnifies the value of what we’ve been able to do through the years.”
Only two-time champion Tony Stewart, who has won at least once in 10 straight seasons, is ahead of Busch in that category. He is tied with three-time reigning Cup champion Jimmie Johnson for second.
After Busch moved to Penske Racing in 2006 to replace retiring NASCAR star Rusty Wallace, he won the March race at Bristol in only his fifth start for the team. His victories over the last three seasons have helped boost Penske Racing’s continuous winning streak to 18 years, trailing only Hendrick Motorsports’ 23 straight years with at least one win.
“It’s longer than Roush Racing’s (12 years), longer than Joe Gibbs’ Racing’s (16 years) and longer than Richard Childress Racing’s (four years),” Busch said. “Even through the difficult seasons like we had this year, we’ve still been able to win races. That fact is certainly something that our team takes great pride in.”
ONE MORE TIME: Nobody can call 74-year-old James Hylton a quitter.
After failing to make the field for the Daytona 500 in his 2007 comeback effort, Hylton will try again in February, teaming up with car owner John Carter in an effort to make the 51st annual Daytona 500.
“Christmas has come early for me,” Hylton said. “I’m thrilled to be able to fulfill the promise I made to the fans in 2007 of returning for one more Daytona 500.”
Hylton, celebrating his 50th year in NASCAR, competed full-time in the ARCA RE/MAX Series in 2008.
“Our goal is to run a complete 2009 series with James Hylton driving the EM Motorsports Dodge,” said Carter, who noted the team is still looking for sponsorship. “You don’t know how proud we are of being part of history by putting James Hylton in our car.”
Hylton, who began his NASCAR career as a mechanic in 1959, began his driving career in 1964. He has two wins, 140 top-fives, four poles and finished second in the points three times.
STAT OF THE WEEK: While Jimmie Johnson won his third straight Cup title under the Chase for the championship format, he would own only one ring under the points system that was used before the 2004 season.
Johnson officially beat Carl Edwards by 69 points in the 10-race Chase in 2008. But, under the old system, which includes the entire 36-race season, Edwards would have been the winner by 16 points.
A year ago, instead of beating Jeff Gordon by 77 points, Gordon, who dominated the 26-race regular season, would have won under the old system by a whopping 353 points.
In 2006, Johnson beat Matt Kenseth by 56 in the Chase. He would have won under the old system too ó by four points.