Darlington II: Ricky Craven - NASCAR spotlight

Craven cherishing return to Darlington DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 26, 2003) -- Ricky Craven returns to Darlington Raceway this week for the Mountain Dew Southern 500, no doubt buoyed by his last visit to the 1.366-mile track. Could it be...

Craven cherishing return to Darlington

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 26, 2003) -- Ricky Craven returns to Darlington Raceway this week for the Mountain Dew Southern 500, no doubt buoyed by his last visit to the 1.366-mile track.

Could it be any other way? Craven won at Darlington in March, nipping Kurt Busch (No. 97 Sharpie/Rubbermaid Ford) by a mere .002 seconds, one of the closest finishes in series history. For Craven, that was the second NASCAR Winston Cup victory of his career, which would've been cause for celebration enough.

"The finish was fantastic, but even more than it being a great finish, it was all about winning at Darlington," Craven said. "It's absolutely the ultimate place to compete. There are certain tracks where every driver wants to win. Daytona, Indianapolis ... and I would put Darlington near the top of that list. There's such a mystique and a history about the place. The type of racing that Darlington creates is some of the best racing you'll see, period. The track is unique, special and you have to be there to see it."

People there in March saw a last lap for the ages, with the cars of Craven and Busch racing only inches apart for most of the final lap.

Inarguably one of the closest finishes in NASCAR history, was it also the best finish in NASCAR history? Many people say so.

"I don't know that it's really sunk in, even five months later," Craven said. "I thought about it a lot during the week after the race, but it's like turning a page when you get to the next race. I took the time to celebrate with the crew, my family, and even the media to a certain extent, from the time I won until we got to Bristol the following weekend.

"A lot of fans I meet, that finish is the first thing they mention. I'm really proud that I was a part of something that some people say will go down in the history books, but it's not something I constantly dwell on. I don't think it will really sink in or that I'll really reflect on that win until after I'm finished with racing. I think it will be really neat to be able to show the tape of that win to my grandkids and let them see what their grandpa used to do for a living."

-nascar-

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kurt Busch , Ricky Craven