Driver of the Decade

Turtle84

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Kyle will need an attorney's argument for this one.

Its JJ. Because at beginning of 2018, it was JJ and it wasn't even CLOSE.

Coming into 2018, Johnson had 9 more wins this decade than Kyle Busch and Harvick. 9 more wins. Over the course of 2 seasons (20% of this decade), Busch has 13 unanswered wins vs Johnson, Harvick has 10. Despite this, Johnson only has 4 less wins than Busch. 2 less than Harvick and more titles.

This decade:
Johnson got win #11 at Dover
Win #8 at Charlotte
Win #9 at Martinsville
Win #7 at Texas

Became the all time leader at multiple tracks this decade.

During this decade Johnson has won
The Daytona 500
The Brickyard 400
The Southern 500
The Coke 600

The only driver to win all 4 crown jewel events this decade... For the second decade in a row.

Kyle Busch hasn't won all 4 crown jewel events yet, and he hasn't won 3 titles yet. In a handful of ways, Johnson accomplished more this decade than Kyle Busch has his entire career.

We are going to forget all of this because Johnson hasn't won in 2 years and Kyle finally wins title number two?

The Jimmie Johnson era ended in 2016, not 2010. Johnson's declining decade is still superior to these other two champion's prime decade.

Yes, the answer is Jimmie Johnson, no, Kyle Busch doesn't have a case here.



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It's an arbitrary time period that doesn't get the benefit of removing years. Even so, I think a legitimate claim can be made for all 3 of them. JJ's goat career legacy is still etched in stone.

The numbers don't lie for KB he has the most wins of the decade in less races due to fractured leg. He's a late bloomer prime years starting in 2015, 5 consecutive final 4's made, while still possessing strong overall performance early in the decade. No years without wins.

Harvick's claim can be built on superb consistency combined with multiple years of dominating the field. Again no winless years in the decade.

JJ's biggest claim is clutch championships, and early decade overall performance from 2010-2013. His ability to deliver wins in high pressure moments is unmatched.

I find it interesting that all 3 have tracks that they were/are heavily favorited, it seems a prerequisite for greatness. KB (Bristol, Richmond) Harvick (Phoenix, Atlanta) Jimmie (Martinsville, Dover).
 

Turtle84

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Obviously. Johnson being vastly superior from 2010-2018 holds no weight. Silly

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I think vastly superior is a far stretch starting in 2014 with Harvick winning the championship and 2015 Kyle winning the championship. The landscape of who had the dominating equipment on speed at that point had changed drastically continuing through the decade imo.
 

Greg

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I have read about the pro Johnson cherry picking numbers on this thread.
But I think you have to cherry pick more to rate Kyle Busch as driver of the decade.
From 2010 to 2014 or for five seasons he could not even get the best out his own teams equipment never mind being the absolute best driver in cup.

In 2010 Hamlin was better,he won 8 races compared to Kyle Busch's 3 races.
I personally believe Hamlin should have won the championship that year, he was faster than Johnson during the chase.

2011 wasn't a great Johnson year, at least by his standards, he finished 3rd in points.
Kyle had his usual no chase win performance, and only one season win. Hamlin finished better than him in another JGR car.

2012 Kyle 13th in points and another no chase win.

2013 JJ won his 6th title. Kenseth came to JGR that year and won 7 races, another year when Kyle was definitely getting beat in the same equipment

2014 Harvick wins the championship in his first season in championship caliber equipment. Another no chase win underachieving moment for Kyle. Kenseth and Hamlin finished better in the points again.
Johnson wasn't as good as previous years, Gordon and Earnhardt Jr each won 4 races to match him for wins, they also finished better in the points.


2015 Kyle wins the championship and I want to reiterate that I think he was the best overall from 2015 to 2019 but that doesn't erase his getting outperformed for by his own teammates for the first five years.

Harvick was the driver that got the most performance and results from the equipment during the decade, in my opinion.

For the first five years of the chase during this decade you could count on Kyle to choke during the chase. He never lived up to the hype that was used to excuse the obvious immaturity. He didn't handle the pressure at it's most intense very well and he needs the greatest revision to win this who is the best driver of the decade discussion.
 

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I have read about the pro Johnson cherry picking numbers on this thread.
But I think you have to cherry pick more to rate Kyle Busch as driver of the decade.
From 2010 to 2014 or for five seasons he could not even get the best out his own teams equipment never mind being the absolute best driver in cup.

In 2010 Hamlin was better,he won 8 races compared to Kyle Busch's 3 races.
I personally believe Hamlin should have won the championship that year, he was faster than Johnson during the chase.

2011 wasn't a great Johnson year, at least by his standards, he finished 3rd in points.
Kyle had his usual no chase win performance, and only one season win. Hamlin finished better than him in another JGR car.

2012 Kyle 13th in points and another no chase win.

2013 JJ won his 6th title. Kenseth came to JGR that year and won 7 races, another year when Kyle was definitely getting beat in the same equipment

2014 Harvick wins the championship in his first season in championship caliber equipment. Another no chase win underachieving moment for Kyle. Kenseth and Hamlin finished better in the points again.
Johnson wasn't as good as previous years, Gordon and Earnhardt Jr each won 4 races to match him for wins, they also finished better in the points.


2015 Kyle wins the championship and I want to reiterate that I think he was the best overall from 2015 to 2019 but that doesn't erase his getting outperformed for by his own teammates for the first five years.

Harvick was the driver that got the most performance and results from the equipment during the decade, in my opinion.

For the first five years of the chase during this decade you could count on Kyle to choke during the chase. He never lived up to the hype that was used to excuse the obvious immaturity. He didn't handle the pressure at it's most intense very well and he needs the greatest revision to win this who is the best driver of the decade discussion.
Yup. I still think Kyle was better than his teammates, but Kyle wasn't the best consensus cup driver in 2017. I remember in 2015 at the fall Texas race, people in the race thread here were saying JJ was still the best in cup. I think Harvick him and Busch were starting to become peers at that point. It's JJ

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I think vastly superior is a far stretch starting in 2014 with Harvick winning the championship and 2015 Kyle winning the championship. The landscape of who had the dominating equipment on speed at that point had changed drastically continuing through the decade imo.
But there's still 2010-2013, where Johnson won all 4 crown jewel events and 2 titles. 2014-2016, he won just as many races and titles as anyone else. It was more even at that point, but winning #7, and the dominance at the first half of the decade makes it hard to ignore.

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Greg

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Yup. I still think Kyle was better than his teammates, but Kyle wasn't the best consensus cup driver in 2017. I remember in 2015 at the fall Texas race, people in the race thread here were saying JJ was still the best in cup. I think Harvick him and Busch were starting to become peers at that point. It's JJ

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From 2010 to 2014 of for the first five years or the decade I do not think Kyle established himself as better than Hamlin or Kenseth.
Maybe more passionate and more potential but that does not equal the most accomplished or best in my opinion.
The yeah but he is the most talented line that I have heard many times is simply a defense or excuse for missed opportunities. The results are indisputable imo.
 

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For the complete decade (2010-2019) It's Kyle Busch by a nose over Harvick. I give Kyle the nod by virtue of his four more race wins. The fall off for Jimme over the last few years takes him out of contention for the decade beginning in 2010 and ending in 2019. You reset the ever popular goal posts back three years to 2008-20017 and it's a different story, but I think the criteria for the date was clearly 2010-2019.
 

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For those using the wins argument, lets talk championships. Jimmie has three championships this decade. Anybody else?
 

Joker

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For those using the wins argument, lets talk championships. Jimmie has three championships this decade. Anybody else?
Yes, Kevin would have three and Jimmie would have one if it weren't for the Miami Bowl.
 

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For those using the wins argument, lets talk championships. Jimmie has three championships this decade. Anybody else?
That is a fair point. However when you add in the other factors, (wins, top 10's, head to head, laps lead) over the decade, I'd still have to give Kyle the nod. That's just cup. Look what he's done in the other series as well. Xfinity champ, Truck series owner, and just a sh!t-ton of wins in xfinity and trucks, a lot of those wins came against cup series regulars like Harvick, before they dumbed down those other two series. Jimmie had a good three years. I'd give Jimmie the nod for GOAT, but this decade? Nope.
 

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I also think that some want to count little league wins, so lets look at all time championships then. Who has 7?
 

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That is a fair point. However when you add in the other factors, (wins, top 10's, head to head, laps lead) over the decade, I'd still have to give Kyle the nod. That's just cup. Look what he's done in the other series as well. Xfinity champ, Truck series owner, and just a sh!t-ton of wins in xfinity and trucks, a lot of those wins came against cup series regulars like Harvick, before they dumbed down those other two series. Jimmie had a good three years. I'd give Jimmie the nod for GOAT, but this decade? Nope.
Put it this way.

What do you think the drivers would say is the most important/the better measure of success.. wins with laps lead, top 5s/top 10s/avg finish/head to head finishes?

Or wins, with wins when it matters and championships ? Any driver would trade their top 5s/top 10s etc for winning the big races and championships.



I don't understand why these box score stats matter?

Most titles this decade.
Only driver to win all 4 crown jewel races this decade
Only 4 less wins than the most.

Recency bias seems strong for both Johnson and Busch. Bottom line is that even with two winless seasons, Johnson has had the MOST/highest level of success this decade in the most elite level of competition. That's a fact.

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KDB has a good chance to win driver of the next decade, Harvick is fighting the age thing, Johnson is retiring, so unless somebody steps up Kyle has age in his favor.
 

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KDB has a good chance to win driver of the next decade, Harvick is fighting the age thing, Johnson is retiring, so unless somebody steps up Kyle has age in his favor.
Maybe so but there's also a LOT of young up and comers.
 

StandOnIt

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That is a fair point. However when you add in the other factors, (wins, top 10's, head to head, laps lead) over the decade, I'd still have to give Kyle the nod. That's just cup. Look what he's done in the other series as well. Xfinity champ, Truck series owner, and just a sh!t-ton of wins in xfinity and trucks, a lot of those wins came against cup series regulars like Harvick, before they dumbed down those other two series. Jimmie had a good three years. I'd give Jimmie the nod for GOAT, but this decade? Nope.
In this decade? No one.
kinda think so I'm surprised nobody has brought up the KDB has won on every race track while they are pleading their case. :D
 

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Put it this way.

What do you think the drivers would say is the most important/the better measure of success.. wins with laps lead, top 5s/top 10s/avg finish/head to head finishes?

Or wins, with wins when it matters and championships ? Any driver would trade their top 5s/top 10s etc for winning the big races and championships.



I don't understand why these box score stats matter?

Most titles this decade.
Only driver to win all 4 crown jewel races this decade
Only 4 less wins than the most.

Recency bias seems strong for both Johnson and Busch. Bottom line is that even with two winless seasons, Johnson has had the MOST/highest level of success this decade in the most elite level of competition. That's a fact.

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Great word usage. However you've contradicted yourself (see bolded text). I doubt any serious fans fans have forgotten Jimmie . Forgive me for being pedantic, but the title of the thread is Driver Of the Decade, not who is the driver with the most championships this decade. I agree that you make a strong case, but I also think that box score stats matter especially wins. For me the combination of factors - the box score stats - add up in Kyle's column. I almost totally discount the crown jewel factor, that's made for TV hyperbole. Right up there with the Bristol and Texas sweeps. First and only Driver to do that. Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of JJ and I do consider him the GOAT, but nearly all of Kyle's numbers this decade are better.
 

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Great word usage. However you've contradicted yourself (see bolded text). I doubt any serious fans fans have forgotten Jimmie . Forgive me for being pedantic, but the title of the thread is Driver Of the Decade, not who is the driver with the most championships this decade. I agree that you make a strong case, but I also think that box score stats matter especially wins. For me the combination of factors - the box score stats - add up in Kyle's column. I almost totally discount the crown jewel factor, that's made for TV hyperbole. Right up there with the Bristol and Texas sweeps. First and only Driver to do that. Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of JJ and I do consider him the GOAT, but nearly all of Kyle's numbers this decade are better.
But the one that counts the most. Championships. :idunno: When Kyle didn't have to race against Gordon, Johnson, Stewart and Kenseth, yeah he started winning pretty regularly. BTW does everybody know that this decade set an all time record with the largest number of Cup Championship winners. (that's for those who say the same drivers win all of the time)
 
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Great word usage. However you've contradicted yourself (see bolded text). I doubt any serious fans fans have forgotten Jimmie . Forgive me for being pedantic, but the title of the thread is Driver Of the Decade, not who is the driver with the most championships this decade. I agree that you make a strong case, but I also think that box score stats matter especially wins. For me the combination of factors - the box score stats - add up in Kyle's column. I almost totally discount the crown jewel factor, that's made for TV hyperbole. Right up there with the Bristol and Texas sweeps. First and only Driver to do that. Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of JJ and I do consider him the GOAT, but nearly all of Kyle's numbers this decade are better.
I haven't actually. I said highest level of success, not most wins. very different and not a contradiction, although I understand how it can be interpreted that way. I think we just have different definitions.

Your opinion in regards to the significance of the "crown jewel" races I can't agree with though. Those races aren't just television candy, and as a race fan, I know you know this. The Daytona 500, Brickyard, Southern 500 and Coke 600 have historically been the most prestigious races.

Bristol sweeps and Texas (Johnson is the all time winner there) sweep do not have the historical significance that these other races do though. It's a media push, but those 4 cup races are the most prestigious and have long standing historical significance. That's very very very different than NASCAR media glorifying KB's sweeps and aren't comparible.

Championships, Daytona 500, Brickyard 400, Southern 500, and the Coke 600 in that order, in my opinion, are the 5 most prestigious accomplishments in NASCAR cup racing. I've felt that way since I was about 12, well over 10 years. Media, and personal experience taught me that. The big 3 was The 500, Brickyard, and a title imo.

Maybe we value accomplishments differently ..I will just never be able to see a driver with less titles and less prestigious wins during the decade than another competitor as the superior driver with only 4 more victories. Top 5s, 10s and laps lead are discounted by me just as you discount the previous 4 races I've mentioned. So we will have to agree to disagree but I appreciate the insightful and polite post.

Seems the main difference here is in how much we weigh "crown jewels" vs "top 5s and top 10s and laps lead " :)

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jaqua19

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But the one that counts the most. Championships. :idunno: When Kyle didn't have to race against Gordon, Johnson, Stewart and Kenseth, yeah he started winning pretty regularly. BTW does everybody know that this decade set an all time record with the largest number of Cup Championship winners. (that's for those who say the same drivers win all of the time)
He has his time in the sun now, but he had almost 10 seasons to become the dominant driver against 3 top 10 drivers all time (which he also is), in Stewart Gordon and Johnson and simply couldn't get it done and didn't really compete for a title. It's a combo of him maturing and the competition thinning that lead to where he is right now. 2008 he had the speed he has now and was outdriven by Carl and Jimmie. Didn't content for another title until 2015.

I see him much more as a Tony Stewart with EXTREME Longevity who will end up with DW type numbers than I do as a dynastic driver like Gordon, Johnson, and Dale. Still an inevitble top 6 or so driver all time imo, which there is nothing wrong with that. He'll be a great driver than Kobe was a basketball player.

Speaking of which, as a fan, this generation had 4 of the 10 greatest drivers of all time in Gordon, Stewart, Johnson, and Busch. We've been blessed.





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Snappy D

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I haven't actually. I said highest level of success, not most wins. very different and not a contradiction, although I understand how it can be interpreted that way. I think we just have different definitions.

Your opinion in regards to the significance of the "crown jewel" races I can't agree with though. Those races aren't just television candy, and as a race fan, I know you know this. The Daytona 500, Brickyard, Southern 500 and Coke 600 have historically been the most prestigious races.

Bristol sweeps and Texas (Johnson is the all time winner there) sweep do not have the historical significance that these other races do though. It's a media push, but those 4 cup races are the most prestigious and have long standing historical significance. That's very very very different than NASCAR media glorifying KB's sweeps and aren't comparible.

Championships, Daytona 500, Brickyard 400, Southern 500, and the Coke 600 in that order, in my opinion, are the 5 most prestigious accomplishments in NASCAR cup racing. I've felt that way since I was about 12, well over 10 years. Media, and personal experience taught me that. The big 3 was The 500, Brickyard, and a title imo.

Maybe we value accomplishments differently ..I will just never be able to see a driver with less titles and less prestigious wins during the decade than another competitor as the superior driver with only 4 more victories. Top 5s, 10s and laps lead are discounted by me just as you discount the previous 4 races I've mentioned. So we will have to agree to disagree but I appreciate the insightful and polite post.

Seems the main difference here is in how much we weigh "crown jewels" vs "top 5s and top 10s and laps lead " :)

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I agree with you in that the Crown Jewel Races are so damn important to me as a fan, and any fan that’s respectful of the history and what little tradition is left of this sport will understand that. To me, there is nothing more important than winning championships AND multiple wins in the Daytona 500, Coca Cola 600, Brickyard 400 and Southern 500. Jimmie has done both this decade as has Kyle. To me it’s soooo close between Johnson, Busch and Harvick. It’s not a slam dunk as some make it seem, this decade alone Kyle has 40(!!!!) of his 56 career win, that screams dominance to me. To those saying Jimmie’s drop off has been steep, you’re right. But he himself has 36 wins this decade and 3 Cups,to totally disregard that is dangerously erroneous. Harvick himself has 38 wins and his Cup, his 2018 was also dominant with 8 wins. To be honest I don’t think there’s a outright wrong answer to the question, the 3 have such great cases.
 

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I agree with you in that the Crown Jewel Races are so damn important to me as a fan, and any fan that’s respectful of the history and what little tradition is left of this sport will understand that. To me, there is nothing more important than winning championships AND multiple wins in the Daytona 500, Coca Cola 600, Brickyard 400 and Southern 500. Jimmie has done both this decade as has Kyle. To me it’s soooo close between Johnson, Busch and Harvick. It’s not a slam dunk as some make it seem, this decade alone Kyle has 40(!!!!) of his 56 career win, that screams dominance to me. To those saying Jimmie’s drop off has been steep, you’re right. But he himself has 36 wins this decade and 3 Cups,to totally disregard that is dangerously erroneous. Harvick himself has 38 wins and his Cup, his 2018 was also dominant with 8 wins. To be honest I don’t think there’s a outright wrong answer to the question, the 3 have such great cases.
Maybe it's just cause the standard was set so high. 40 wins in a decade is impressive. But compared to the last 3 drivers of the decade, and the peers, it doesn't stand out.

1980-1989
Darrell Waltrip - 3 titles and 57 wins in 10 seasons (wow!)
Dale Sr - 3 titles and 38 races 10 seasons

1990-1999
Jeff Gordon - 3 titles and 49 wins, 7 seasons, nuts!
Dale Sr - 4 titles, 35 wins 10 seasons

2000-2009
Johnson - 4 titles and 47 wins in 8 seasons.

2010-2019
Busch - 40 wins 2 titles
Johnson - 36 wins 3 titles

Kyle compares to Dale's 80s decade, almost, but other than that, the 2010s best seem to be the least dominant we've seen in some time. Not to be a wet blanket, but, Kyle just isn't on THAT level of dominance yet.

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Maybe it's just cause the standard was set so high. 40 wins in a decade is impressive. But compared to the last 3 drivers of the decade, and the peers, it doesn't stand out.

1980-1989
Darrell Waltrip - 3 titles and 57 wins in 10 seasons (wow!)
Dale Sr - 3 titles and 38 races 10 seasons

1990-1999
Jeff Gordon - 3 titles and 49 wins, 7 seasons, nuts!
Dale Sr - 4 titles, 35 wins 10 seasons

2000-2009
Johnson - 4 titles and 47 wins in 8 seasons.

2010-2019
Busch - 40 wins 2 titles
Johnson - 36 wins 3 titles

Kyle compares to Dale's 80s decade, almost, but other than that, the 2010s best seem to be the least dominant we've seen in some time. Not to be a wet blanket, but, Kyle just isn't on THAT level of dominance yet.

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Kyle not dominant? His 2010-2019 wins beats Sr’s 80-89 and 90-99( 40 to 38 and 35), JJ 2010-19.....he doesn’t have the titles sure, but can’t you say that has some to do with the point system? He’s been in 5 Final Fours, that’s impressive in it’s own right to me it shows he’s been there as a title contender since they changed to this playoff. You’ve said Kyle might be closest to DW when it’s all said and done well in this decade Kyle has 2 Cups to DW’s 3 from 1980-89, so what are we basing this on wins or championships? I just think with this playoff system we have to ask ourselves what is it to us that makes a driver dominant... is it wins, or championships (which is such a crapshoot now) or Championship Race Appearances?
 

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gosh I really had no idea how dominant DW was in the 80’s....I thought it was all Earnhardt. DW with his 57 wins that’s crazy. More than Gordon had in his run there in the 90’s
 

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Maybe it's just cause the standard was set so high. 40 wins in a decade is impressive. But compared to the last 3 drivers of the decade, and the peers, it doesn't stand out.

1980-1989
Darrell Waltrip - 3 titles and 57 wins in 10 seasons (wow!)
Dale Sr - 3 titles and 38 races 10 seasons

1990-1999
Jeff Gordon - 3 titles and 49 wins, 7 seasons, nuts!
Dale Sr - 4 titles, 35 wins 10 seasons

2000-2009
Johnson - 4 titles and 47 wins in 8 seasons.

2010-2019
Busch - 40 wins 2 titles
Johnson - 36 wins 3 titles

Kyle compares to Dale's 80s decade, almost, but other than that, the 2010s best seem to be the least dominant we've seen in some time. Not to be a wet blanket, but, Kyle just isn't on THAT level of dominance yet.

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Impressive amount of work
 

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gosh I really had no idea how dominant DW was in the 80’s....I thought it was all Earnhardt. DW with his 57 wins that’s crazy. More than Gordon had in his run there in the 90’s
they bounce up and down about KDB winning all three series at Bristol. DW won it 7 times in a row against Cup drivers.
 

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they bounce up and down about KDB winning all three series at Bristol. DW won it 7 times in a row against Cup drivers.
That is such an unreal start. I read that DW said in an interview as Jeff Gordon was winning 4 straight Southern 500’s that “he would most be remembered for that” well I knew DW had won 7 straight at Bristol before I knew he won 57 races in a decade. I think if I had been born in 74 instead of 84 I would have been a DW fan
 

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I haven't actually. I said highest level of success, not most wins. very different and not a contradiction, although I understand how it can be interpreted that way. I think we just have different definitions.

Your opinion in regards to the significance of the "crown jewel" races I can't agree with though. Those races aren't just television candy, and as a race fan, I know you know this. The Daytona 500, Brickyard, Southern 500 and Coke 600 have historically been the most prestigious races.

Bristol sweeps and Texas (Johnson is the all time winner there) sweep do not have the historical significance that these other races do though. It's a media push, but those 4 cup races are the most prestigious and have long standing historical significance. That's very very very different than NASCAR media glorifying KB's sweeps and aren't comparible.

Championships, Daytona 500, Brickyard 400, Southern 500, and the Coke 600 in that order, in my opinion, are the 5 most prestigious accomplishments in NASCAR cup racing. I've felt that way since I was about 12, well over 10 years. Media, and personal experience taught me that. The big 3 was The 500, Brickyard, and a title imo.

Maybe we value accomplishments differently ..I will just never be able to see a driver with less titles and less prestigious wins during the decade than another competitor as the superior driver with only 4 more victories. Top 5s, 10s and laps lead are discounted by me just as you discount the previous 4 races I've mentioned. So we will have to agree to disagree but I appreciate the insightful and polite post.

Seems the main difference here is in how much we weigh "crown jewels" vs "top 5s and top 10s and laps lead " :)

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The ultimate goal in Nascar racing is to start the season by winning Daytona and finishing the year by winning the championship. ( maybe not so much with this new type champion) Every driver races with the same rules and same definition as champion.
JJ is my choice for driver of the decade.
 
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