Maine Racer’s Epic NASCAR Win Turns 15
March 16th, 2003, Maine native Ricky Craven was locked in a battle for the ages with Kurt Busch. A day which came to define his career, and fill space on countless highlight reels.
Craven, who had shot to stardom from the ranks of Unity Raceway, the American-Canadian Tour, Busch Grand National North, and eventually landing on the prestigious Winston Cup tour was driver on the comeback trail. After losing his top flight ride with Hendrick Motorsports, he had found success with Cal Well's PPI group, picking up a win at Martinsville Speedway in 2001. Busch, fairly new to the scene, and was one of the hottest drivers on the circuit, lost the lead to Craven, and then took it back the next lap. In a scene which played out like a real life version of Days of Thunder, the battered drivers fought it out to the wire. The wild finish still stands as the closest in NASCAR history, and had this fan jumping up and down, filling multiple imaginary swear jars with excitement. As a Mainer, this was better than a regular close finish. This was our guy not giving in, and "emptying the tank," as the now ESPN contributor calls it.
The win would go down as his final Cup victory.