|Watkins Glen Power Rankings|
|Kyle Busch came bedevilingly close to what would have been a series-best fourth win of the season on Monday at Watkins Glen, but Brad Keselowski and eventual winner Marcos Ambrose were able to squirt past as he bobbled in Turn One.|
Ambrose went on to become the fifth first-time Sprint Cup winner this season and the 15th different driver to win in the 22 races contested. According to NASCAR, the five first-time winners this season are the most since 2002. But there have not been this many first-time winners through this few races since 1950, the second year of NASCAR's existence. Just 19 races were held that season.
The 15 different winners are the most through 22 races since 2003. The modern era-record of 19 was set in 2001. Champion Jeff Gordon led the series that season with six victories.
Kyle Busch, Marcos Ambrose and Brad Keselowski battle for the win late and David Ragan and David Reutimann go for a wild ride.
In a season of statistical oddity, in which parity has skewed the ability to analyze, perhaps Busch could appease himself with what passes for a possible trend. More than likely it's simply a coincidence. But with four races left until the most meaningful portion of the season begins and a safe spot in the playoffs already secured, Busch could afford to dabble in NASCAR numerology.
According to NASCAR research, the last time the Sprint Cup wins leader had so few victories through 22 races was in 2002, when Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart paced the series. Kenseth went on to lead the series with five wins. Stewart didn't win another race but claimed his first Sprint Cup title for Joe Gibbs Racing. Busch races for JGR, too.
Coincidence or trend? Too soon to tell.