15 years later, Kurt Busch and Ricky Craven sit down to discuss the closest MENCS finish in history
Kurt Busch, Stewart-Haas Racing and NASCAR Digital has released the first 2018 Darlington Raceway throwback scheme.
The 2018 car closely resembles No. 97 Rubbermaid car from 2003. The classic sharpie graphic has been replaced with a Haas drill bit and the swoosh remains the same.
Watch the video and view the 2018 Kurt Busch throwback photos below.
That year, Kurt Busch and Ricky Craven found themselves in a door to door battle at Darlington Raceway. On old tires, they swapped the lead several times. Sliding across the banking, it was a thrilling finish all the way to the end.
The official margin of victory was .002 seconds as they rubbed fenders and the wall. It’s the closest finish in the history of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
“This race track requires everything you have in terms of concentration. If you begin racing each other, you get punished for it. That’s really what happened, with a couple laps to go,” Ricky Craven told NASCAR.com.
“I forgot all about the race track and hitting my marks. And we started racing. We took each other as far as you can.”
“At a track that you’re not suppose to be doing that on,” Kurt Busch completes the sentence.
“I didn’t lift. I thought we were going to wreck. And I guess by most measures, we did,” Craven details the door slamming to the line.
Each driver looked at the score board to see who was the winner. The #32 was declared the winner.
After the race, Ricky Craven was unsure of the reaction to the contact. With his kids in victory lane, he was concerned that they might end up wrestling. Busch and Craven walked toward each other, at the last second Kurt Busch stuck out his hand. A handshake on the great race as he congratulated the winner.
“That was an awesome race. He didn’t give me room in [turn] 1. I didn’t give him roof out of [turn] 4. It’s the way it’s suppose to be,” Kurt Busch said with a smile back in 2003 before he even climbed out of his car.
“I was defeated by a guy that outsmarted me. There was the respect side of it too, just two true racers. We threw everything and the kitchen sink at each other but didn’t wreck each other,” Kurt Busch explains.
15-year-later, Kurt Busch will be a near identical paint scheme back to Darlington Raceway. The 2018 Southern 500 will be run on September 2nd.
Kurt Busch and Ricky Craven recall Darlington,
15 years later
2003 Darlington Raceway Video
2018 Kurt Busch throwback paint scheme
Related: Top 15 closest NASCAR finishes list