Share this article

Amid Rumors of His Return, Kurt Busch Gets Teary-Eyed, Reminiscing the Closest Loss in NASCAR History

Published 05/14/2023, 1:33 PM EDT

Follow Us

USA Today via Reuters

NASCAR’s history is rich with hair-raising finishes. Yet, one stands out – the duel between Kurt Busch and Ricky Craven. This race remains unforgettable for both drivers. For Busch, it marked a painful loss. His skill and grit met with a touch of ill fate. On the other hand, Craven, it was a day of triumph. His determination saw him victoriously etched in NASCAR’s lore.

America’s Favorite Video Today

With escalating rumors about his potential NASCAR comeback, Kurt Busch plunged into deep reflection during a recent Fox Sports feature. The segment revisited a heart-wrenching episode in NASCAR history – a race where Busch suffered an agonizingly close loss. As the video progressed, waves of intense emotion visibly swept over him.

Kurt Busch tears up as he reminisces the hardest loss


Article continues below this ad

In honor of NASCAR’s 75th anniversary, the memorable face-off, which occurred during the 2003 season at Darlington, will be revisited just before this Sunday’s Goodyear 400.

As they rounded the last corner, Craven and Busch’s cars made contact. They seemed locked together, barreling towards the finish line. Craven edged out Busch by a mere 0.002 seconds. This record for the closest finish in NASCAR history has only been equaled once. That was at Talladega Superspeedway in April 2011 during the tandem draft era.


25.7k readers Last 30 min

Get instantly notified of the hottest NASCAR stories via Google! Click on Follow Us and Tap the Blue Star.

Follow Us

The poignant scene prompted an overwhelmed Busch to confess, “It’s so emotional because I know that I gave everything that I could to win that race. And what’s even tougher right now, just looking at this is, that was 2003. I have never won at Darlington.”

What transpired between Busch and Craven on that fateful day at Darlington?

On March 16, 2003, at the iconic Darlington Raceway, future NASCAR champion Kurt Busch and his fierce competitor Ricky Craven provided fans with an unforgettable spectacle. The last laps witnessed an intense duel between the two, with the lead switching hands in a heart-stopping fashion.


Article continues below this ad

Providing feedback will help us make your experience better.

The Fan's Perspective

Enjoyed Your Read? Let us know how likely you are to recommend EssentiallySports to your friends!

Least Likely

Most Likely

Furthermore, Craven, in a daring maneuver, briefly snatched the lead from Busch with just two laps to go. However, Busch, showcasing his Roush Racing pedigree, swiftly retaliated to reclaim the front position.

As the tension escalated, the final turn was approaching. Craven made a bold move, diving low and locking sides with Busch’s car. As they thundered across the finish line, an air of suspense enveloped the entire venue. Fans, crew members, and even the drivers themselves were left in a state of anticipation, wondering who had emerged victorious.


Article continues below this ad

WATCH THIS STORY: Tony Stewart’s Bombshell Announcement Puts Him in Hot Water, Requiring Dale Earnhardt Jr’s Help to Diffuse

Busch, however, felt a pang of dread. He recalled, “When we locked, I looked through his window net and I thought, ‘Oh, man, he’s ahead of mine.'” The cars finally separated as they barreled into the first couple of turns, coming to rest after a frenzied finish that had everyone on their feet. It was a day at Darlington Raceway that will forever be etched in the annals of NASCAR.



Srijan Mandal

1061 articles

Srijan Mandal is a NASCAR writer at EssentiallySports. With a Master's Degree in Journalism from a top institution, Srijan has written over 1000 articles across various platforms. His passion for racing began at a young age and has only grown stronger over time.

Edited By: Akash Pandhare