Note: This is the first in a series of stories that will be published during the weekend of the Pure Michigan 400 as part of The SuperSpeedway’s coverage of the events from the track.
BROOKLYN, MI — If Kyle Larson can get to the checkered flag first Sunday, it will be his third win in a row at Michigan International Speedway. So how likely is it that Larson will earn his fourth win in his career at MIS and keep the streak alive?
Well, the truth is, not very likely. In fact, if he managed to pull it off, Larson would become only the third driver in history to win three in a row at the 2-mile Irish Hills speedway.
Many drivers have won two in a row at Michigan, but only two have won more consecutively.
The first time it happened was 1972 and 1973. David Pearson won the Motor State 400 in 1972, and followed it up later in the year with a win in the Yankee 400. He then won the Motor State 400 again the following year — the only Cup race at MIS, to end his streak at three races. Richard petty ended the streak in the 1974 Motor State 400.
The second time it happened, and the last time, started in 1984 when Bill Elliott won the Miller 400. People who have attended races at MIS for many years will tell you Elliott was one of the best there. And he proved it over those four races, winning the 1985 Champion Spark Plug 400, and doubling down the following season, winning both races again. Elliott holds the record for the most MIS races won in a row with four.
That’s it. No one else has done it.
Kyle Larson currently is among the ranks of drivers like Greg Biffle (he won two in a row twice), Ryan Newman, Mark Martin, Bobby Labonte, Cale Yarborough, and Bobby Allison as drivers who have won two races in a row at the track.
Speaking of Yarborough, he won two in a row just once, but he won a lot more races than that at MIS. He won eight times, including the first time in 1969. But the record for most wins at MIS is held by Pearson, who did it nine times over his career.
So if Larson is able to pull out a win this weekend at MIS, he will join some very elite company. It could happen, but the deck is certainly stacked against him.