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Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Kyle Busch the king of Richmond


Who doesn't love a Saturday night race with a little controversy? Likewise, who doesn't love a blog with a little controversy?

Next step: Find a controversy. Maybe Formula One blogger Tom McKean and I are high-level art thieves. Or Marty Smith and I start running moonshine ... again.

Mystery cautions and close-call restart penalties aside, your winner Saturday night was one Kyle Busch, which is getting to be a familiar sight at Richmond International Raceway. It's the fourth straight year he has won the spring race at the track.

More impressively, it lowered his average finish at the track to a 4.7. That's the best mark by any active driver at any track, with a minimum of five starts (remember, we've run only a single race at Kentucky).

But let's go historic with this nugget, shall we? Busch's 4.7 average finish is just decimal points behind the best mark for any driver with at least 15 starts at a track. The best mark is Cale Yarborough at Nashville, with a 4.67 mark.

Trivia break! If we lower the minimum to 10 starts, which driver has the best career average finish at a track? Hint: It's a 1.8 at Bowman-Gray.

Can I have a second?

I'm not sure if people are aware, but there's a pretty popular driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and he's on a bit of a winless streak. The upside? He's getting pretty consistently close to a win, and if he wins, it'll make some history.

Earnhardt has finished second on seven occasions since his last win. The Cup series record for the most runner-up finishes between wins is eight, done four times: Jeff Gordon (snapped in 2011), Jeremy Mayfield (2004), Bobby Allison (1970) and Bobby Isaac (1970).

In total, nine drivers have had at least seven runner-up finishes between wins. Besides Gordon, the other active driver to do so was Kevin Harvick.

Junior's winless streak is now up to 138 races. Only six drivers in Cup history have gone that long between wins. The record belongs to Bill Elliott, with a 226-race stretch.

Trivia break! It could be worse for Junior. What driver holds the record for most second-place finishes without a win?

Dominant in defeat

Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart had big performances, but no wins Saturday to show for their efforts.

But let's focus on Edwards, who had an impressive 126.4 driver rating in defeat. Driver rating, a stat that incorporates many parts of NASCAR's loop data, maxes out at 150, and anything over 100 is very good.

Over the past two seasons, Edwards has had six races with a driver rating of at least 125, but just one win in those races.

Edwards is one of just two drivers over the past two years with at least three races with a driver rating of at least 125, but no more than one win in those races. The other? Jimmie Johnson.

Trivia break! What driver has the most races with at least a 125 driver rating over the past two seasons?

Trivia break answers

1. Rex White has a 1.8 mark at Bowman-Gray.

2. If you got this one, I'm impressed. G.C. Spencer finished second seven times without a win.

3. Kyle Busch has had 10 such races, and has won five of those.