An odd occurrence in recent years between the Super Bowl and NASCAR could provide a clue as to who wins this year’s Cup title.
Each of the past three times the New England Patriots appeared in the Super Bowl — win or lose — NASCAR crowned a first-time champion that season. Although New England lost Sunday’s Super Bowl to the Philadelphia Eagles, if form follows, NASCAR will crown a first-time champion this season.
In 2017, the Patriots won the Super Bowl and Martin Truex Jr. won his first Cup title.
In 2015, the Patriots won the Super Bowl and Kyle Busch won his first Cup title.
In 2012, the Patriots played in the Super Bowl (losing to the New York Giants) and Brad Keselowski won his first Cup title.
Compare New England’s Super Bowl appearances in NASCAR’s playoff era (since 2004). In four of the previous six times the Patriots were in the Super Bowl, NASCAR crowned a first-time champ. The other time it happened was in 2004 with Kurt Busch.
Of course, it didn’t work out twice. In 2005, the Patriots won the Super Bowl and Tony Stewart won his second Cup title that year. In 2008, Patriots lost in the Super Bowl to the Giants and Jimmie Johnson won his third consecutive title.
Still four of six times in NASCAR’s playoff era, when the Patriots played in the Super Bowl, NASCAR crowned a first-time champion, provides hope for some drivers searching for their first Cup crown, including Denny Hamlin, Kyle Larson, Joey Logano.