By Dominic Aragon
January 2, 2017
There are less than eight weeks away until the Daytona 500. The 2017 season could provide the potential for various driver milestones.
2—Two 2016 full-time drivers could make their 500th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start in 2017.
Barring any missed races, Kasey Kahne (468 starts) would hit the mark at the Kansas Speedway race in October.
Casey Mears, who has 488 career starts in the series, has not announced his 2017 racing plans in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at the time of publication.
39 drivers have hit the mark in the history of the series. The most recent drivers to make their 500th start were both Jamie McMurray and Greg Biffle in the same race at Chicagoland Speedway in September of 2016.
3—Three drivers with full-time rides in 2017 could make their 600th Sprint Cup Series start this season.
Barring any missed races, Dale Earnhardt Jr. (595 starts) would hit the mark at Auto Club Speedway in March and would become 26th driver in series history to start 600 races.
Kurt Busch (576 starts) would hit the mark at Bristol Motor Speedway in August and would become 27th in series history to start 600 races.
Kevin Harvick (574 starts) would make start 600 at Richmond International Raceway in September and would become 28th driver in series history to do so.
25 drivers have made 600 or more starts in the history of the series. Matt Kenseth became the most recent driver to hit the mark in the August 2016 race at Watkins Glen International.
4—Four drivers who ran full time in 2016 have the chance to score their 100th career top-five finish in the series in 2017.
Kasey Kahne has 89 career top-five finishes, Joey Logano has 81 and Brad Keselowski has 79.
Greg Biffle, who has 92 career top-five finishes, has not announced his 2017 racing plans at the time of publication.
40 drivers have hit the mark in the history of the series.
Denny Hamlin was the last driver to score their 100th top-five finish in the series with his third-place finish at Darlington Raceway in September of 2015.
5—If Jimmie Johnson is able to score at least five victories in 2017, he will move to fourth on the all-time wins list.
Johnson currently has 80 career victories and sits seventh on the series’ all-time wins list. Cale Yarborough has 83 victories, and Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip have 84 apiece.
Furthermore, if Johnson can win 13 races next season, he will tie Jeff Gordon for third all-time on the wins list at 93.
8—A championship win by Jimmie Johnson in 2017 would make the 41-year-old driver the most title-winning driver in series history at eight.
A Johnson championship in 2017 would mark eight titles in 12 seasons.
Johnson’s 2016 title tied him with Richard Petty and the late-Dale Earnhardt for first on the all-time championship wins with seven each.
18—If Kasey Kahne starts in each of the first 32 races this season, he will become the 18th driver in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series history to start 500 consecutive races.
Kahne currently has started 468 consecutive races and has not missed a race since his debut in the Daytona 500.
Barring any missed races, Kahne would hit the mark at Kansas Speedway in October. The last driver to hit 500 consecutive starts in the series was Greg Biffle at Phoenix International Raceway in November of 2016.
200—If Aric Almirola can win a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race in 2017, it will mark the 200th win for the No. 43 car in the series.
Richard Petty won a total of 192 times with the No. 43.
Drivers Bobby Hamilton and Jim Paschal won twice in the No. 43; and
Aric Almirola has won once with the number along with John Andretti and Lee Petty.
From 1959 to 1984, a total of 1,054 races in the series were run with the No. 43 car winning 195 times, approximately an 18.5 percent.
The last time the No. 43 visited victory lane was with Aric Almirola in July 2014 at Daytona International Speedway.
The No. 43 is the second most winning car in the history of the series. The No. 11 car has visited victory lane a total of 209 times.