A little over 15 years ago on March 16, 2003, Darlington Raceway hosted one of the most incredible NASCAR races of the 2000s, and a finish that has gone down in history as one of the greatest.
“The finish at the 2003 Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 was one of the most thrilling in NASCAR’s history,” said track president Kerry Tharp. “It was a race that NASCAR fans will remember for a lifetime and it is fitting that it happened at the track Too Tough to Tame.”
With 15 laps to go, and no power steering, Kurt Busch had the lead. However, Ricky Craven trailed three seconds behind. With two laps to go, Craven finally caught Busch.
After multiple lead changes, the white flag dropped with Busch leading and Craven on his bumper. Coming into the final stretch, both cars got loose and banged into each other side by side to the finish line, with Craven taking the win by a .002 second difference.
Aside from the remarkable finish, the race also marked the last race for the Pontiac race team (Craven’s car) and the final victory of Craven’s career.
“It was okay to lose, because of the respect we had on the track for each other,” said Busch in a March interview with Craven. “It was one of the greatest finishes in NASCAR history and one that I’m ok with being a part of despite being on the losing end. It’s great to sit with Ricky and reminisce about it.”
“It was one of the biggest and most notable victories of my career for sure,” Craven said. “To be part of a finish and victory that was so special in the history of NASCAR is something that I’ll always have and cherish forever.”
Kurt Busch and Ricky Craven will reminisce about the finish in an event celebrating 7 Decades of NASCARon Saturday, Sept. 1, at Darlington Raceway (8 p.m. start in the track’s Hospitality Village).
The Q&A session will be one of six during the track’s Saturday Night Celebration with tickets still available for the can’t-miss event. To purchase tickets to the event, visit. A Sunday grandstand ticket must accompany a Saturday Night Celebration purchase.
Darlington Raceway’s award-winning throwback campaign is The Official Throwback Weekend of NASCARfeaturing the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bojangles’ Southern 500® on Sunday, Sept. 2, 2018. The NASCAR XFINITY Series Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 will race on Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018. Tickets are on sale now by calling 866-459-7223 or visiting.
Darlington Raceway PR (Photo by ISC Archives via Getty Images)