2003 Carolina Dodge Dealers 400

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2003 Carolina Dodge Dealers 400
Race details
Race 5 of 36 in the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season
The photo finish between Craven and Busch
The photo finish between Craven and Busch
Date March 16, 2003 (2003-March-16)
Location Darlington Raceway (Darlington, South Carolina)
Course Permanent racing facility
1.366 mi (2.198 km)
Distance 293 laps, 400.238 mi (644.014 km)
Weather Temperatures reaching up to 64.4 °F (18.0 °C); wind speeds up to 11.1 miles per hour (17.9 km/h)[1]
Average speed 126.214 miles per hour (203.122 km/h)
Pole position
Driver Elliott Sadler Yates Racing
Most laps led
Driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Dale Earnhardt, Inc.
Laps 91
No. 32
Ricky Craven
Cal Wells
Television in the United States
Network FOX
Announcers Mike Joy
Darrell Waltrip
Larry McReynolds

The 2003 Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 was held on March 16, 2003 at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina and was the fifth race of the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season.


The race was remembered for the finish as Ricky Craven won the race in a stunning, side panel rubbing battle to the checkers with Kurt Busch; at the start/finish line Craven edged out Busch by .001 thousands of a second.[2]

It was the closest finish in NASCAR Winston Cup Series history, although that mark his since been tied by Jimmie Johnson's finish over Clint Bowyer in the 2011 Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. In general, it is not the closest in history among the three major series, in the 1995 Total Petroleum 200, Butch Miller beat Mike Skinner by .001 in a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Colorado. Earlier in the race, Busch missed entering pit road while green flag pit stops was occurring. Elliott Sadler won the pole for the race, his first of the season. It was also the final NASCAR win for Pontiac as they left the series at the end of the season and it was Dave Blaney's first top 5 finish with a third place effort.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. led the most laps of the race with 91 out of the 293 lap distance. Early in the race, Jerry Nadeau was running in second until he spun around all by himself in turn one which brought out the first caution. The championship leader, Matt Kenseth and Jamie McMurray made contact to avoid Nadeau and Kenseth spun, entering turn two. Just a few laps later, Jack Sprague got loose in turn four and spun around without any serious damage. Ryan Newman, who started second in this race and Ward Burton were running side by side until both of them were around in turn two. Soon after that, Sterling Marlin and Jimmie Johnson were running side-by-side, which both ran out of room and sent Marlin in to the wall. A corner later, he would hit the wall again and collected Bobby Labonte, Tony Raines, Kevin Harvick and Sprague once again.

Race results[edit]

Top Ten Finishers
Pos. Car # Driver Make Team
1 32 Maine Ricky Craven Pontiac PPI Motorsports
2 97 Nevada Kurt Busch Ford Roush Racing
3 77 Ohio Dave Blaney Ford Jasper Motorsports
4 6 Arkansas Mark Martin Ford Roush Racing
5 15 Kentucky Michael Waltrip Chevrolet Dale Earnhardt Inc.
6 8 North Carolina Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet Dale Earnhardt Inc.
7 38 Virginia Elliott Sadler Ford Robert Yates Racing
8 17 Wisconsin Matt Kenseth Ford Roush Racing
9 9 Georgia (U.S. state) Bill Elliott Dodge Evernham Motorsports
10 20 Indiana Tony Stewart Chevrolet Joe Gibbs Racing

Standings after the race[edit]

Matt Kenseth (seen in 2009) led the points standings after the race
Pos Driver Points
1 Matt Kenseth 760
2 Tony Stewart 703
3 Michael Waltrip 698
4 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 634
5 Kurt Busch 617
6 Ricky Craven 617
7 Dave Blaney 603
8 Jimmie Johnson 601
9 Joe Nemechek 601
10 Johnny Benson, Jr. 575


  1. ^ Weather information for the 2003 Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 at The Old Farmers' Almanac
  2. ^ 2003 Carolina Dodge Dealers 400

External links[edit]

Preceded by
2003 Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500
NASCAR Winston Cup Series season
Succeeded by
2003 Food City 500