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Ricky Craven (#32) edges out Kurt Busch (#97) at the line in this race.

The 2003 Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 was held on March 16, 2003 at Darlington Speedway in South Carolina and was the fifth race of the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season. The race was remembered for the finish as 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 .002 thousands of a second.[1] It was the closest finish in NASCAR Winston Cup Series history. In general, it is not the closest in history among the three major series, in the 1995 Total Petroleum 200, Butch Miller beat Mike Skinner by .001 in a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Colorado. Earlier in the race, Busch missed entering pit road while green flag pit stops was occuring. Elliott Sadler won the pole for the race, his first of the season. It was also the final NASCAR win for Pontiac as they left the series at the of the season and it was Dave Blaney's first top 5 finish with a third place effort. Dale Earnhardt Jr. led the most laps of the race with 91 out of the 293 lap distance.


Race higlights

Early in the race, Jerry Nadeau was running in second until he spun around all by himself in turn one which brought out the first caution. The championship leader, Matt Kenseth and Jamie McMurray made contact to avoid Nedeau and Kenseth spun, entering turn two. Just a few laps later, Jack Sprague got loose in turn four and spun around without any serious damage. Ryan Newman, who started second in this race and Ward Burton were running side by side until both of them were around in turn two. Soon after that, Sterling Marlin and Jimmie Johnson were running side-by-side, which both ran out of room and sented Marlin in to the wall. A corner later, he would hit the wall again and collected Bobby Labonte, Tony Raines, Kevin Harvick and Sprague once again.

Race results

Top Ten Finishers
Pos. Car # Driver Make Team
1 32 Maine Ricky Craven Pontiac PPI Motorsports
2 97 California Kurt Busch Ford Roush Racing
3 77 Ohio Dave Blaney Ford Jasper Motorsports
4 6 Arkansas Mark Martin Ford Roush Racing
5 15 Kentucky Michael Waltrip Chevrolet Dale Earnhardt Inc.
6 8 North Carolina Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet Dale Earnhardt Inc.
7 38 Virginia Elliott Sadler Ford Robert Yates Racing
8 17 Wisconsin Matt Kenseth Ford Roush Racing
9 9 Georgia (U.S. state) Bill Elliott Dodge Evernham Motorsports
10 20 Indiana Tony Stewart Chevrolet Joe Gibbs Racing


  1. ^ 2003 Carolina Dodge Dealers 400

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