List of the closest Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series finishes

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Ricky Craven (No. 32) edges out Kurt Busch (No. 97) at the line in the 2003 Carolina Dodge Dealers 400.

NASCAR's premiere racing division, the Monster Energy NASCAR 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 margin in the NASCAR Cup Series is 0.002 seconds. This 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 second-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]

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series closest finishes
Rank Race Margin Winner 2nd Place Track Date
1 2003 Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 0.002 Ricky Craven Kurt Busch Darlington Raceway March 16, 2003
1 2011 Aaron's 499 0.002 Jimmie Johnson Clint Bowyer Talladega Superspeedway April 17, 2011
3 2001 Gatorade Duel 2 0.004 Mike Skinner Dale Earnhardt Jr. Daytona International Speedway February 15, 2001
4 2011 Gatorade Duel 2 0.005 Jeff Burton Clint Bowyer Daytona International Speedway February 17, 2011
4 2007 Pepsi 400 0.005 Jamie McMurray Kyle Busch Daytona International Speedway July 7, 2007
4 1993 DieHard 500 0.005 Dale Earnhardt Ernie Irvan Talladega Superspeedway July 25, 1993
7 2010 Gatorade Duel 1 0.006 Jimmie Johnson Kevin Harvick Daytona International Speedway February 11, 2010
7 2001 Cracker Barrel Old Country Store 500 0.006 Kevin Harvick Jeff Gordon Atlanta Motor Speedway March 11, 2001
9 1994 Pepsi 400 0.008 Jimmy Spencer Ernie Irvan Daytona International Speedway July 2, 1994
10 2012 Budweiser Shootout 0.010 Kyle Busch Tony Stewart Daytona International Speedway February 18, 2012
10 2004 Subway 400 0.010 Matt Kenseth Kasey Kahne North Carolina Speedway February 22, 2004
10 2000 Cracker Barrel Old Country Store 500 0.010 Dale Earnhardt Bobby Labonte Atlanta Motor Speedway March 12, 2000
10 2016 Good Sam 500[3] 0.010 Kevin Harvick Carl Edwards Phoenix International Raceway March 13, 2016
10 2016 Daytona 500[4] 0.010 Denny Hamlin Martin Truex, Jr. Daytona International Speedway February 21, 2016
15 2010 Aaron's 499 0.011 Kevin Harvick Jamie McMurray Talladega Superspeedway April 25, 2010
16 2010 Gatorade Duel 2 0.014 Kasey Kahne Tony Stewart Daytona International Speedway February 11, 2010
17 2016 Sprint Showdown 0.015 Kyle Larson Chase Elliott Charlotte Motor Speedway May 20, 2016
18 2005 Ford 400 0.017 Greg Biffle Mark Martin Homestead-Miami Speedway November 20, 2005
19 2011 Good Sam Club 500 0.018 Clint Bowyer Jeff Burton Talladega Superspeedway October 23, 2011
20 2007 Daytona 500 0.020 Kevin Harvick Mark Martin Daytona International Speedway February 18, 2007
21 2014 Budweiser Duel 1 0.022 Matt Kenseth Kasey Kahne Daytona International Speedway February 20, 2014
22 1994 Diehard 500 0.025 Jimmy Spencer Bill Elliott Talladega Superspeedway July 24, 1994
23 2005 Coca-Cola 600 0.027 Jimmie Johnson Bobby Labonte Lowe's Motor Speedway May 29, 2005
24 2005 Golden Corral 500 0.028 Carl Edwards Jimmie Johnson Atlanta Motor Speedway March 20, 2005
24 2004 Samsung/Radio Shack 500 0.028 Elliott Sadler Kasey Kahne Texas Motor Speedway April 5, 2004
26 1997 Pepsi 400 0.029 John Andretti Terry Labonte Daytona International Speedway July 5, 1997
27 2005 Gatorade Duel 1 0.030 Michael Waltrip Dale Earnhardt Jr. Daytona International Speedway February 17, 2005
28 2006 UAW Daimler-Chrysler 400 0.045 Jimmie Johnson Matt Kenseth Las Vegas Motor Speedway March 12, 2006
29 1995 Diehard 500 0.050 Sterling Marlin Dale Jarrett Talladega Superspeedway July 23, 1995
30 1998 Exide Select Batteries 400 0.051 Jeff Burton Jeff Gordon Richmond International Raceway September 12, 1998
31 2008 Amp Energy 500 0.052 Tony Stewart Paul Menard Talladega Superspeedway October 5, 2008
32 2011 Budweiser Shootout 0.058 Kurt Busch Jamie McMurray Daytona International Speedway February 12, 2011
33 2011 Coke Zero 400 0.059 David Ragan Matt Kenseth Daytona International Speedway July 2, 2011
34 2002 Aaron's 499 0.060 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Michael Waltrip Talladega Superspeedway April 21, 2002
35 2007 Food City 500 0.064 Kyle Busch Jeff Burton Bristol Motor Speedway March 25, 2007
36 2011 Gatorade Duel 1 0.065 Kurt Busch Regan Smith Daytona International Speedway February 17, 2011
36 2007 Goody's Cool Orange 500 0.065 Jimmie Johnson Jeff Gordon Martinsville Speedway April 1, 2007
38 2007 UAW-Ford 500 0.066 Jeff Gordon Jimmie Johnson Talladega Superspeedway October 7, 2007
39 1994 Winston Select 500 0.067 Dale Earnhardt Ernie Irvan Talladega Superspeedway May 1, 1994
40 2007 Lenox Industrial Tools 300 0.068 Denny Hamlin Jeff Gordon New Hampshire Motor Speedway July 1, 2007
41 2005 MBNA NASCAR RacePoints 400 0.080 Jimmie Johnson Kyle Busch Dover International Speedway September 25, 2005
42 2004 Banquet 400 0.081 Joe Nemechek Ricky Rudd Kansas Speedway October 10, 2004
43 2001 Kmart 400 0.085 Jeff Gordon Ricky Rudd Michigan International Speedway June 10, 2001
44 2008 Daytona 500 0.092 Ryan Newman Kurt Busch Daytona International Speedway February 17, 2008
44 2010 Coke Zero 400 0.092 Kevin Harvick Kasey Kahne Daytona International Speedway July 3, 2010
46 2017 GEICO 500 0.095 Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. Jamie McMurray Talladega Superspeedway May 7, 2017
46 2003 EA Sports 500 0.095 Michael Waltrip Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Talladega Superspeedway September 28, 2003
48 2009 Sharpie 500 0.098 Kyle Busch Mark Martin Bristol Motor Speedway August 22, 2009

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 2003 Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 Archived 2009-11-12 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ NASCAR's Analysis Shows Competition Has Become Closer
  3. ^ Spencer, Reid (March 13, 2016). "Harvick Edges Edwards for Thrilling Phoenix Victory". NASCAR.com. Retrieved March 14, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Denny Hamlin edges Martin Truex Jr. by inches to win Daytona 500". ESPN.com. February 22, 2016. Retrieved March 14, 2016. 

External links[edit]