List of the closest NASCAR Sprint Cup Series finishes

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Ricky Craven (#32) edges out Kurt Busch (#97) at the line in the 2003 Carolina Dodge Dealers 400.

NASCAR's premiere racing division, the Sprint Cup Series, has seen many close finishes since the electronic scoring system was instituted in May during the 1993 season. To date the closest finish in the Sprint Cup Series is 0.002 seconds. The first occurred during the 2003 Carolina Dodge Dealers 400. Ricky Craven won the race in a stunning, side panel rubbing battle to the checkers with Kurt Busch at Darlington Raceway. At the start/finish line, Craven edged out Busch by mere inches.[1] In 2011, this was the 2nd closest at the 2011 Aaron's 499 at the Talladega Superspeedway, where Jimmie Johnson beat out Clint Bowyer by mere inches with racecars four abreast at the start-finish line.

History[edit]

Close finishes have been a part of the sport since the beginning of stock-car racing. One notable photo finish occurred in the inaugural Daytona 500 in 1959. Initially, NASCAR declared the race won by Johnny Beauchamp, but many fans felt that Lee Petty had won. It took 61 hours before the win was finally awarded to Petty.

Beginning May 1993, NASCAR switched from using handheld stopwatches or analog timing clocks to integrated electronic scoring.[2]

Before margins of victory were scored in laps, car lengths or feet. Geoff Bodine defeated Ernie Irvan by 0.53 seconds in the 1993 Save Mart Supermarkets 300K. It was the first race utilizing electronic scoring. Now scoring can be measured down to seconds, or fractions of a second.

Close finishes are not limited to the Cup Series. There have also been some photo finishes in the lower divisions. On October 30, 2010, in the Mountain Dew 250 at Talladega Superspeedway, Kyle Busch beat out Aric Almirola by 0.002 seconds, tying the record set by Terry Labonte over Joe Nemechek in the 1999 Touchstone Energy 300. The closest finish in the history of NASCAR's top three divisions (since 1993) occurred in the 1995 SuperTruck Total Petroleum 200 at Colorado National Speedway. Butch Miller beat Mike Skinner by only 0.001 second.

Closest finishes[edit]

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series closest finishes
Race Margin (seconds) Winner 2nd Place Track Date
2003 Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 0.002 Ricky Craven Kurt Busch Darlington Raceway March 16, 2003
2011 Aaron's 499 0.002 Jimmie Johnson Clint Bowyer Talladega Superspeedway April 17, 2011
2001 Gatorade Duel #2 0.004 Mike Skinner Dale Earnhardt Jr. Daytona International Speedway February 15, 2001
2011 Gatorade Duel #2 0.005 Jeff Burton Clint Bowyer Daytona International Speedway February 17, 2011
2007 Pepsi 400 0.005 Jamie McMurray Kyle Busch Daytona International Speedway July 7, 2007
1993 DieHard 500 0.005 Dale Earnhardt Ernie Irvan Talladega Superspeedway July 25, 1993
2010 Gatorade Duel #1 0.006 Jimmie Johnson Kevin Harvick Daytona International Speedway February 11, 2010
2001 Cracker Barrel Old Country Store 500 0.006 Kevin Harvick Jeff Gordon Atlanta Motor Speedway March 11, 2001
1994 Pepsi 400 0.008 Jimmy Spencer Ernie Irvan Daytona International Speedway July 2, 1994
2012 Budweiser Shootout 0.010 Kyle Busch Tony Stewart Daytona International Speedway February 18, 2012
2004 Subway 400 0.010 Matt Kenseth Kasey Kahne North Carolina Speedway February 22, 2004
2000 Cracker Barrel Old Country Store 500 0.010 Dale Earnhardt Bobby Labonte Atlanta Motor Speedway March 12, 2000
2010 Aaron's 499 0.011 Kevin Harvick Jamie McMurray Talladega Superspeedway April 25, 2010
2010 Gatorade Duel 2 0.014 Kasey Kahne Tony Stewart Daytona International Speedway February 11, 2010
2005 Ford 400 0.017 Greg Biffle Mark Martin Homestead-Miami Speedway November 20, 2005
2011 Good Sam Club 500 0.018 Clint Bowyer Jeff Burton Talladega Superspeedway October 23, 2011
2007 Daytona 500 0.020 Kevin Harvick Mark Martin Daytona International Speedway February 18, 2007
2014 Budweiser Duel 1 0.022 Matt Kenseth Kevin Harvick Daytona International Speedway February 20, 2014
1994 Diehard 500 0.025 Jimmy Spencer Bill Elliott Talladega Superspeedway July 24, 1994
2005 Coca-Cola 600 0.027 Jimmie Johnson Bobby Labonte Lowe's Motor Speedway May 29, 2005
2005 Golden Corral 500 0.028 Carl Edwards Jimmie Johnson Atlanta Motor Speedway March 20, 2005
2004 Samsung/Radio Shack 500 0.028 Elliott Sadler Kasey Kahne Texas Motor Speedway April 5, 2004
1997 Pepsi 400 0.029 John Andretti Terry Labonte Daytona International Speedway July 5, 1997
2005 Gatorade Duel 1 0.030 Michael Waltrip Dale Earnhardt Jr. Daytona International Speedway February 17, 2005
2006 UAW Daimler-Chrysler 400 0.045 Jimmie Johnson Matt Kenseth Las Vegas Motor Speedway March 12, 2006
1995 Diehard 500 0.050 Sterling Marlin Dale Jarrett Talladega Superspeedway July 23, 1995
1998 Exide Select Batteries 400 0.051 Jeff Burton Jeff Gordon Richmond International Raceway September 12, 1998
2008 Amp Energy 500 0.052 Tony Stewart Paul Menard Talladega Superspeedway October 5, 2008
2011 Budweiser Shootout 0.058 Kurt Busch Jamie McMurray Daytona International Speedway February 12, 2011
2011 Coke Zero 400 0.059 David Ragan Matt Kenseth Daytona International Speedway July 2, 2011
2002 Aaron's 499 0.060 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Michael Waltrip Talladega Superspeedway April 21, 2002
2007 Food City 500 0.064 Kyle Busch Jeff Burton Bristol Motor Speedway March 25, 2007
2011 Gatorade Duel 1 0.065 Kurt Busch Regan Smith Daytona International Speedway February 17, 2011
2007 Goody's Cool Orange 500 0.065 Jimmie Johnson Jeff Gordon Martinsville Speedway April 1, 2007
2007 UAW-Ford 500 0.066 Jeff Gordon Jimmie Johnson Talladega Superspeedway October 7, 2007
1994 Winston Select 500 0.067 Dale Earnhardt Ernie Irvan Talladega Superspeedway May 1, 1994
2007 Lenox Industrial Tools 300 0.068 Denny Hamlin Jeff Gordon New Hampshire Motor Speedway July 1, 2007
2005 MBNA NASCAR RacePoints 400 0.080 Jimmie Johnson Kyle Busch Dover International Speedway September 25, 2005
2004 Banquet 400 0.081 Joe Nemechek Ricky Rudd Kansas Speedway October 10, 2004
2001 Kmart 400 0.085 Jeff Gordon Ricky Rudd Michigan International Speedway June 10, 2001

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 2003 Carolina Dodge Dealers 400
  2. ^ NASCAR's Analysis Shows Competition Has Become Closer

External links[edit]