Denny Hamlin has finished 12 consecutive NASCAR Cup Series races won by under-30 drivers. But there is one unfinished line.
At his Richmond racetrack in his home Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing took his first win in 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season, becoming the seventh different driver to win during the first seven races of the 36-race racing season.
Hamlin William Byron of Hendrick Motorsports with only five laps left in the Toyota owners 400 laps in four innings, 0.75 mile (1.207 km) oval in Richmond, Virginia, won the race by 0.552 seconds over Stewart-Kevin Harvick of Haas Racing in center The second. Hamlin drove only those five laps en route to victory lane.
As a result, the 41-year-old finished a record streak of 12 consecutive races won by under-30 drivers, returning to Bubba Wallace’s first career win – and XI Racing’s 23 – at the Talladega Superspeedway early last October.
In fact, Hamlin’s win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway late last September was the most recent win for a driver not in his 20s.
After Wallace, then 27, won the Talladega Superspeedway, 29-year-old Kyle Larson won the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval, Texas Motor Speedway, and Kansas Speedway. Then Alex Bowman, 28, won at Martinsville Speedway before Larson concluded the season by winning the championship at Phoenix Raceway.
To open the 2022 season, 23-year-old Austin Sendrick won the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway, earning him the first victory of his career. Larson then won the Auto Club Speedway before Bowman won the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Chase Briscoe, 27, then scored his first career win at Phoenix Raceway before Byron, 24, won at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Then 29-year-old Ross Chastain became the third first-time winner of the season with a victory at the Circuit of the Americas, where Trackhouse Racing took their first-ever win.
But while Hamlin finished his 12th race streak, there is another age-related streak of victories he hasn’t finished.
We still haven’t seen a driver in his 30s win a race since AJ Allmendinger, then 39, won at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last August, bringing Kaulig Racing his first-ever win.
Between that win and Hamlin’s victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, five races were contested. Ryan Blaney, then 27, had back-to-back victories at Michigan International Speedway and Daytona International Speedway before Hamlin, then 40, won at Darlington Raceway. Then Martin Truex Jr., 41, took the checkered flag at Richmond Raceway before Larson did so at Bristol Motor Speedway.
This means 19 consecutive races have been won by drivers who are not in their 30s.
But the madness doesn’t stop there.
When he claimed his historic victory at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last August, Allmendinger was a part-time driver. A full-time driver in his 30s who hasn’t won yet since mid-July.
Eric Almerola remains the last full-time driver in his 30s to find the way to victory. Then 37, he did so on Sunday, July 18, 2021, at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Between his win and the Allmendinger, Larson was the only winner, winning the Watkins Glen International, although there was a three-week break during this period.
So in the last 21 races, no full-time driver in their 30s has found a path to victory.
Who will finish this streak, and will it end this weekend? Martinsville Speedway Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief is scheduled to host 400 on Saturday, April 9. Do not miss the opportunity to start FuboTV Free Trial Today!
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