Johnson City Press: Busch's wins are impressive but Petty still rules

Busch's wins are impressive but Petty still rules

Jeff Birchfield • Updated Mar 12, 2019 at 7:24 PM

Kyle Busch scored his 199th NASCAR national event victory Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway, drawing the inevitable comparisons to Richard Petty's 200 Cup Series wins.

Busch's three wins have come in three different series — Cup, Xfinity and Trucks — while Petty's were all in the top division.

It is a fair statement that the modern competition is tougher on the Cup level, where Busch earned his 52nd career victory Sunday, only two behind Lee Petty for 10th place on the all-time win list.

However, Petty's wins came entirely at the Cup level and while some of the older races had just half the field of a modern race, they were still the top division during that time.

Another argument is Petty's dominance because he had superior equipment to most of his fellow drivers. The same holds true if not more so for Busch in his Xfinity and Truck Series victories. He is an overwhelming favorite to win every time he's on the track.

At least with Petty in the 1960s and 70s, there was always a handful of contenders. You had the other giants of the era like David Pearson, Bobby Allison and Cale Yarborough to contend with.

There wasn't a big-name Cup Series driver that Busch faced in Saturday's race. Austin Dillon was the only Cup driver of note in his previous win at Las Vegas. The same held true in Busch's two Truck Series wins this season.

That's not to take anything away from Busch, who is as talented a driver as I've ever seen. As he's pointed out, it is necessary for him to race so many times to keep sponsors happy. The companies love being associated with one of the world's best drivers and the success that comes from it.

Beyond the wins, Petty has the records that separate him from the other greats of the sport. He's tied with Dale Earnhardt and Jimmie Johnson with seven NASCAR Cup Series championships, and stands well on his own as the only driver with seven Daytona 500 victories.


Volunteer Speedway released its 2019 racing schedule Monday. FASTRAK series promoter Stan Lester is operating the track along with owners Joe and Phyllis Loven.

A test session is scheduled for March 30 with the first race on Thursday, April 4 with the Spring Thaw $10,000-to-win Super Late Model feature. Sportsman Late Models and Open Wheel Modifieds will also be in action.

It is on Bristol race week, and the track has another key Super Late Model race, the Scorcher, scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 15.

Weekly racing starts on Saturday, April 13. Classes include FASTRAK Late Models, Sportsman Late Models, Modified Street, Classics, Mini Stocks and Steel Head Late Models.

New for this season is free county nights, where fans from that county get in free (grandstands only). Sullivan County is on May 27, Hawkins, Washington and fans from North Carolina get in free on Aug. 31. The date for Unicoi County and the state of Virginia is Sept. 28.

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