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On This Day In Automotive History: Closest NASCAR finish
In 2003 on this day, Ricky Craven wins the Darlington 500 in closest NASCAR recorded finish in history.
Craven crossed the finish line .002 seconds ahead of Kurt Busch on a raceway nicknamed “The Track Too Tough To Tame.”
This race was voted the most memorable moment in Darlington Raceway history by more than 5,000 racing fans in May 2009.
Richard Allen “Ricky” Craven was born on May 24, 1966 in Newburgh, Maine and currently works as an ESPN broadcaster for NASCAR, but got his beginnings at Unity Raceway at only 15 years old.
It wasn’t until 1989 when Craven made his NASCAR appearance in the pro touring series, Busch Grand National North.
And Ricky didn’t drive the “Tide Ride” until January 2001. The No. 32 Tide Ford for PPI Motorsports was an instant fit for Craven and the team, because a few short years after the switch, he set the NASCAR record for closest finish.
South Carolina’s difficult speedway was Harold Brasington creation after being inspired in 1948 while experiencing the Indianapolis 500 race, and thus the 1.366-mile oblong-shaped track was born.
The “Darlington stripe” is a narrow corner of the track many racers slam into. The corner is more narrow and steep than other parts of the track because of a disagreement between Harold and the farmer he bought the land from.
The farmer didn’t want the construction to interfere with his fish pond, so necessary measures were taken to build away from the pond.
As described on its homepage, Darlington ” continues to be an active community partner, hosting a variety of community events and participating in numerous local activities each year. It’s a place of history where fans reminisce about the past, but create lasting memories of the present when NASCAR roars into Darlington Raceway each year.”