Cale Yarborough

A level of domination not seen in NASCAR in years

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Yes, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. have been the class of the Cup field this year, but their domination is even more impressive when looks to last year and beyond.

Consider:

Harvick, Busch and Truex have combined to win 19 of the last 24 races — dating back to the start of last year’s playoffs. That’s a 79.2 percent winning percentage.

Here is the breakdown of winners in the last 24 races:

7 — Kyle Busch

6 — Kevin Harvick

6 — Martin Truex Jr.

1 — Brad Keselowski

1 — Matt Kenseth

1 — Clint Bowyer

1 — Joey Logano

1 — Austin Dillon

But look deeper. remove the three restrictor-plate races run since last year’s playoffs and Harvick, Busch and Truex have combined to win 19 of the last 21 unrestricted races. That’s 90.5 percent.

The sport hasn’t seen this level of domination since 2008-09. Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson and Busch combined to win 17 of 24 races from Sonoma in June 2008 to Las Vegas in March 2009.

Edwards, Johnson and Busch combined to win 24 of 36 races (67 percent) in 2008.

In the last two Cup races, the domination by Harvick, Busch and Truex has been pronounced. They have combined to lead 510 of 560 laps (91.1 percent) run in the Coca-Cola 600 and Pocono race.

Here is a breakdown of laps led in the past two races:

390 — Kyle Busch

  89 — Kevin Harvick

  31 — Martin Truex Jr.

  12 —Brad Keselowski

  12 — Joey Logano

  11 — Ryan Blaney

    9 — Denny Hamlin

    4 — Bubba Wallace

    2 — Jimmie Johnson

Also consider this: In seven of the 14 Cup points race this season, Harvick, Busch or Truex took two of the top three spots at the finish.

— Here is how Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. have fared this year:

Kevin Harvick

5 wins

1 runner-up

10 top 5s

Kyle Busch

4 wins

3 runner-ups

9 top 5s

Martin Truex Jr.

2 wins

2 runner-ups

9 top 5s

The 11 wins by Harvick, Busch and Truex ranks fourth in the modern era (since 1972) for victories by a trio of drivers in the first 14 races.

Cale Yarborough (six wins), Richard Petty (four) and David Pearson (three) won 13 of the first 14 races in 1974. Yarborough (six), Petty (four) and Darrell Waltrip (two) won 12 of the first 14 races in 1977. Pearson (six), Petty (four) and Yarborough (two) also combined to win 12 of the first 14 races in 1973.

The 11 wins by Harvick, Busch and Truex ties three other seasons.

Rusty Wallace (five wins), Ernie Irvan (three) and Dale Earnhardt (three) won 11 of the first 14 races in 1994. Earnhardt (seven), Tim Richmond (two) and Davey Allison (two) won 11 of the first 14 races in 1987. Bill Elliott (seven), Neil Bonnett (two) and Earnhardt (two) won 11 of the first 14 races in 1985.

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