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Top 3 Closest Finishes in NASCAR Cup Series History

Gowtham Ramalingam

NASCAR Transponder: What Is It? How Is It Used in a NASCAR Race?

Over the 268 laps that were raced on Sunday, the Kansas Speedway has had its legacy heightened by playing host to what is the closest finish in NASCAR Cup Series history. Hendrick Motorsports driver Kyle Larson edged past Chris Buescher in the final moments of the race and got past the checkered flag 0.001 seconds ahead of him. With nerves still not settled from the action, here’s a look at the other closest finishes ever in NASCAR.

Second to the Larson-Buescher battle are two race finishes. The first of that, chronologically, came back in 2003 in Darlington. The finish was a bout between Ricky Craven and Kurt Busch. The race was a chance for both drivers to grab their first wins of the season and Craven ended up finishing ahead of Busch by 0.002 seconds. Notably, Craven led just the final lap of the race.

Alongside the 2003 race, with the same margin of victory, is the April 2011 race in Talladega. Johnson was able to finish ahead of Clint Bowyer by 0.002 seconds. But the victory wasn’t his alone. His teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. had played a huge role in the success by sticking to their game plan of finishing first and second. He’d been the one to push Johnson’s ride ahead of Bowyer’s to ensure the win.

With the races in 2003 and 2011 sharing the pedestal for the second closest finishes in NASCAR history, the third spot is grabbed by the Atlanta race that came early in the 2024 season.

Daniel Suarez’s history-making moment in Atlanta in early 2024

Trackhouse Racing’s Daniel Suarez had not been in the mix to win the second race of the Cup Series 2024 season until its final laps. Making use of a late restart, he got ahead of the others and managed to stay put. He went across the finish line alongside defending champion Ryan Blaney and Kyle Busch. NASCAR’s verdict ruled that he had crossed the line 0.003 seconds ahead of Blaney and won the race. It was only his second-ever victory in the top tier.

In just a few months from that memorable race, NASCAR has produced yet another spectacle in Kansas. Larson’s 0.001-second victory stands poised as the narrowest victory margin ever seen. It is the driver’s second win of the season and has further solidified his lead at the top of the points table.

Post Edited By:Srijan Mandal

About the author

Gowtham Ramalingam

Gowtham Ramalingam

Gowtham is a NASCAR journalist at The SportsRush. Though his affinity for racing stems from Formula 1, he found himself drawn to NASCAR's unparalleled excitement over the years. As a result he has shared his insights and observations by authoring over 350 articles on the sport. An avid fiction writer, you can find him lost in imaginary worlds when he is not immersed in racing. He hopes to continue savoring the thrill of every lap and race together with his readers for as long as he can.

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