So we’ve moved on from trying to compare Kyle Busch’s soon-to-be 200 wins across three different series with Richard Petty’s 200 NASCAR premier series wins to this: many of Richard Petty’s victories shouldn’t count because they took place in shorter races often against shorter fields.
Someone did a lot of research to reach that conclusion. That’s too bad. Because at the end of the day, Petty remains the only driver with 200 career victories in NASCAR’s top series. They came on tracks of all shapes and sizes, against big fields and small fields, on dirt and asphalt, but when you add them all up you get the same thing – 200.
When was the last time any Cup team HAD to compete 3-4 times during the same week because that’s how the races fell on the schedule?
Do today’s drivers and teams have anywhere near the concern about parts breakage? Engines blowing? That Petty won as often as he did when drivers were more likely to fall out of a race due to something on the car breaking speaks volumes. Parts failures didn’t discriminate when it came to race length so why should we?
Today’s drivers race with power steering, disc brakes and radial tires. For much of his career, Petty and his fellow drivers competed without power steering, used drum brakes and bias-ply tires.
I wouldn’t want to drive across town without power steering, much less race without it.
Win under those conditions in a 100-mile race or a 500-mile race and tell me the two shouldn’t be considered equal.
Faulting Petty for winning a 100-lap race against a field of 24 is like faulting Busch for winning a fuel-mileage race. “Well, he didn’t really beat anyone, he just outlasted them.” Really?
Do we even want to mention the differences in everything BUT driving in the race? You know, like the crew having to transport the car across the country to the next race, set the car up at the track, pit the car on race day, then haul the car all the way back across the country to get home, unload and get ready for the next race? The same crew mind you. And often volunteers at that.
Not a couple of fellas hired to drive, and only drive, the transporter to and from the track. Separate mechanics to set up the car. A separate pit crew that does nothing but pit the car.
Hell, if Petty had those “luxuries” during his prime, he might have won 300 times.
Of course, someone would probably find fault with that, too.