It’s not often that you see one driver win a race in all three of NASCAR’s national series at the helm of the same race car number. As a matter of fact, there is only one driver in the history of NASCAR that has won more times in each of the three series in the same car number than any other driver.
Who is that driver you ask?
You may quickly respond with the driver who’s collected more race wins in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series than anyone else – Richard Petty. And you’d be wrong. While he has 192 wins driving the No. 43 in the premier series, he never piloted that race car number to Victory Lane in the NASCAR XFINITY or NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
You might think Carl Edwards. And why not, he has more wins in the No. 99 in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series than anyone else. But, you’d be wrong. He’s never won in the second series while driving No. 99.
What about Jeff Gordon? Sure, he’s won 92 times in the No. 24 Chevrolet in the premier series and twice in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, records for the No. 24 in both series, but he’s never won a truck series race in the No. 24. So, he’s not the right answer either.
The only driver to have the most wins in the same car number in all three series is none other than Kyle Busch – in the No. 18 (No. 7 on our list of race car numbers with the most wins in NASCAR’s three national series). Sure, he doesn’t have more wins than Richard Petty or Jeff Gordon in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in their respective car numbers, but he does something that neither of them can lay claim to (nor can anyone else).
Since 2008, Busch has captured 29 of his 33 career wins in NASCAR’s premier series. All 29 victories came while piloting the No. 18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. Although Busch has an astonishing 72 victories in 13 season in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, only 38 of the Las Vegas native’s wins have come at the helm of the No. 18 race car, which is still pretty dang good. In the truck series, he compiled 14 race wins in the No. 18 truck in only two seasons (2010-11). All three of these are highs for the car number in their respective series.
Busch captured his first NASCAR Sprint Cup win in the No. 18 car on March 9, 2008, at Atlanta Motor Speedway. So far in 2015, he’s collected four wins, three of them consecutively. Not too long after, on April 5, 2008, he scored his first NASCAR XFINITY win in the No. 18 at Texas Motor Speedway. He’s got two wins so far this season, but neither of them were in the No. 18.
It wasn’t until April 2, 2010, before Busch posted his first truck series win in the No. 18. The victory, the 17th of his truck series career, happened at Nashville Superspeedway. His last win in the No. 18 in the truck series came on September 24, 2011, at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
In all, there have been 129 victories for the No. 18 between NASCAR’s three national series – 53 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, 49 in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and 27 in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Other drivers that have hit paydirt in the premier series while piloting the No. 18 are Marvin Burke (one win), Dale Jarrett (two) and Bobby Labonte (21). Burke’s win was his only win in the series. He won the 200-mile event at Oakland (Calif.) Stadium on October 14, 1951.
Jarrett’s two wins came early in his career – they were only the second and third wins in his NASCAR Hall of Fame career. However, the first of the two wins was probably the most memorable and iconic win in his career. It came in the 1991 Daytona 500 where he battled Dale Earnhardt over the last lap, all while his father, Ned, called the race from the booth. He went on to win the race in one of the best finishes of the season. The younger Jarrett also won the fall Charlotte event the following year.
All 21 of Labonte’s career wins in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series came while he was piloting the No. 18. They were all collected between 1995 and 2003, including five in 1999 and four in 2000. In 2000, he also won the championship title.
In the NASCAR XFINITY Series, only three other drivers have won a race in the No. 18 – Denny Hamlin (two), Joey Logano (seven) and Matt Kenseth (two). Adding these to Busch’s 38 wins gives the No. 18 49 total wins in NASCAR’s second series.
Both of Hamlin’s wins came during the 2008 season, when he posted wins at Dover International Speedway and Kansas Speedway. In addition to having two wins in the No. 20, Logano scored an incredible nine wins during the 2012 season. He swept the NASCAR XFINITY races at Dover that season. Both of Kenseth’s wins came during 2013, winning at Daytona International Speedway and Kansas.
Busch also won the 2009 NASCAR XFINITY Series championship in the No. 18.
Of the total 27 wins in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series by the No. 18, 13 of them are owned by drivers not named Kyle Busch. They are shared by seven different drivers – Joe Ruttman (five), Robert Pressley (two), Chad Chaffin (two), Dennis Setzer (one), Kasey Kahne (one), Denny Hamlin (one) and Brian Scott (one).
The last five of Ruttman’s 13 wins in the truck series came in the No. 18 in 2000 and 2001. His final truck win came at Pikes Peak International Raceway in Colorado in May 2001. Pressley has two career wins in the truck series and they both came while in the cockpit of the No. 18. The wins came at Daytona and Michigan International Speedway in 2002.
Chaffin also has two career wins in the truck series that both came in the No. 18; however, they came in 2004, when he grabbed checkered flags at Dover and Lucas Oil Raceway. Although Setzer has 18 wins in the truck series, only one of them came in the No. 18 – his final win in the series during the 2008 season at Martinsville Speedway.
Kahne scored two truck series wins in 2004, but didn’t find Victory Lane in the series again until the third race in 2011, when he celebrated his only truck win in the No. 18. Hamlin’s first of two career truck series wins came in the No. 18 in 2011 at Martinsville. Scott scored his second truck series race at Phoenix International Raceway in 2012, when he drove the No. 18 Toyota to Victory Lane.
Check back next week to see which number is sixth on the list of car numbers with the most wins.