image: Leon Hammack

The race to 30 isn’t the easiest achievement in Nascar. It’s much harder than people think it would be. There are a few drivers this year that have it within grasp. It’s right on the end of their fingertips. They can feel it and, hell, they can taste it.

30 wins is a milestone achievement in Nascar. It’s something many drivers aren’t able to boast about. In the history of the series only 24 drivers have reached this accomplishment. These people range from Richard Petty with an impressive 200 wins to fellow hall of famer Dale Jarrett with 32 wins. Out of those impressive 24 drivers only, 18 so far, have been eligible for the Nascar Hall of Fame.

Although Jeff Gordon, one of the best ever, has 93 wins and Tony Stewart is also sitting at a strong 49 wins. Neither of these drivers are eligible yet. They’re clearly shoo ins and won’t take long at all to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

The drivers that are currently within the range of thirty wins are Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch and Dale Earnhardt Jr. What could Denny Hamlin do this year? Well he could do something that seems impossible until it happens. He could go back to back in the Daytona 500, which would earn him his 30th career win in the biggest race of the season. Winning consecutive 500’s is rare.

Want to know what’s even more rare? Winning consecutive 500 races and making it your 30th career win to top it all off. If history has taught us anything over the decades it’s that anything is possible.

Kurt Busch. He’s been a full time driver for 16 years and has 28 wins underneath his belt. Winning two races in one season seems high, even for him. We know he’ll get one but grabbing that second one is going to be a tough go.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. is by far the wildcard of the group. He hasn’t done the same things as his old man, which he wouldn’t be expected to, but he’s certainly carried on the legacy quite well and doesn’t look like he’s slowing down anytime soon. Dale has been able to pull of four races in a season before so it’s not that far out in left field. We know his No. 88 group is going to be fast. Just like Talladega Nights, Ricky Bobby, fast. Burning rubber at both wheels and setting fire to all things around them. Leaving nothing but smoke and a pile of tears for those that couldn’t keep up.

The only downfall here is he has been out of the game for 18 races. He wasn’t able to compete because of concussion like symptoms in 2016. It’s a matter of how long it’s going to take to break the rust off and get back into racing mode. There are too many unknowns as there is with pretty much any aspect of racing. Engines can blow up, drivers can have bad days or tracks can be lest then presentable. All we know is 2017 is going to be one heck of a ride.

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