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Why Dale Earnhardt Jr. Can Become NASCAR’s Third Straight First-Time Champion

They may have many things in common—starting with being great race car drivers—but there’s one thread that binds Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch that no other NASCAR driver can claim. Chew on that for a second. Give up? Harvick and Busch are the first two NASCAR champions under the new Chase for the Sprint Cup format that was implemented in 2014. And they also were both first-time Sprint Cup champs in 2014 (Harvick) and 2015 (Busch). As we prepare for the start of the 2016 Sprint Cup season, could we be talking about a third consecutive first-time champion about 10 months from now? Sure, there are plenty of drivers who have not won a Cup crown yet, including Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards, Kyle Larson, Martin Truex Jr., Joey Log...

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