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Talon64's Motorsports Corner writes:
"NASCAR: First Cup wins before first NNS wins"
Posted by Talon64 on November 9, 2011
Viewed 361 times


Trevor Bayne made history when he became the youngest driver to win the Daytona 500 back in February, driving for the legendary Wood Brothers. But his first career Nationwide win at Texas Motor Speedway last Saturday also puts him in some very select company.

19 drivers have won in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series before they won in Nationwide (NNS), 16 of them winning in NNS in later seasons after their first Cup win (in order of earliest to win in Cup):

David Pearson - Cup: 1961, NNS: 1982, Rockingham
Bobby Allison - Cup: 1966 Oxford, NNS: 1984 Charlotte
Darrell Waltrip - Cup: 1975 Nashville, NNS: 1982 Charlotte
Neil Bonnett - Cup: 1977 Richmond, NNS: 1983 Darlington
Terry Labonte - Cup: 1980 Darlington, NNS: 1985 Charlotte
Morgan Shepherd - Cup: 1981 Martinsville, NNS: 1982 Hickory
Ron Bouchard - Cup: 1981 Talladega, NNS: 1984 Darlington
Tim Richmond - Cup: 1982 Riverside, NNS: 1985 Charlotte
Bill Elliott - Cup: 1983 Riverside, NNS: 1993 Watkins Glen
Greg Sacks - Cup: 1985 Firecracker 400 at Daytona NNS: 1996 at Talladega
Ken Schrader - Cup: 1988 Talladega, NNS: 1989 Dover
Derrike Cope - Cup: 1990 Daytona 500, NNS: 1994 Loudon
Ernie Irvan - Cup: 1990 Bristol, NNS: 1991 Rockingham
Tony Stewart - Cup: 1999 Richmond, NNS: 2005 Daytona
Robby Gordon - Cup: 2001 New Hampshire, NNS: 2004 Richmond
Kurt Busch - Cup: 2002 Bristol, NNS: 2006 Texas

But Bayne is one of only 3 drivers to get their first career Cup win, then earn their first NNS win later in the same season:

Harry Gant - Cup: 1982 Martinsville (April 25th), NNS: 1982 Charlotte (May 29th)
Jamie McMurray - Cup: 2002 Charlotte (October 13th), NNS: 2002 Atlanta (October 26th)
Trevor Bayne - Cup: 2011 Daytona 500 (February 20th), NNS: 2011 Texas (November 5th)

Harry Gant needed 107 career starts (1973-1982, but full time starting in 1979) to get his first career Cup win at Riverside. Just over a month later Gant won from pole at Charlotte in NNS' inaugural season (then known as the NASCAR Busch Series); Gant made just 4 starts that year, the win his only top 5. Of the 3, Gant's the only driver to win again in Cup in the same season as he picked up his 2nd win from pole at Charlotte that year. And he's the only full-time Cup driver to accomplish the feat.

Trevor Bayne won in just his 2nd career Cup start (finished 17th in the fall Texas race in 2010 in his debut), but has only run a partial Cup schedule for 2011. Running with Michael Waltrip Racing from 2009-10 and Roush Fenway Racing for 2011, he needed 77 starts to get his first NNS win.

Jamie McMurray's first career Cup win, in the fall Charlotte race in 2002, came in just his 2nd career start and as a substitute driver in the #40 Chip Ganassi Racing Dodge for the injured Sterling Marlin. Marlin's potential championship run came to end with 7 races to go in the year due to a broken vertebrae suffered in a race crash a few weeks earlier; Jamie was already slated to drive for CGR in 2003. Then just less than 2 weeks later, Jamie picked up his first career NNS win at Atlanta in his 66th series start (all for Brewco Motorsports) and then made it back-to-back wins a week later at Rockingham.

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