by JamesJ, Special To NASCAR commentary and driver pictures, 2012 NASCAR schedule, video, Bench Racing With Steve and Charlie
Sundays of my youth consisted of NASCAR racing and cold bottles of Mountain Dew. Thirty years later not much has changed for me. However, nearly everything has changed in NASCAR.January 16, 2010 9:56 pm UTC No Comments
Over the next several weeks we’ll be featuring car numbers in NASCAR history. We started with #50 and are working our way down the line. With each car number we’ll take a brief look at a couple stats related to the featured car number, but we’ll primarily spotlight either a driver, sponsor, car owner, manufacturer or other significant subject closely tied to the car number of the day.
One of the best NASCAR Cup series finishes in recent history involved car number 32 at one of my all-time favorite race tracks, Darlington. For that reason, I must confess that I didn’t even give consideration to any other possible sponsor, car owner or past driver of car number 32 than Ricky Craven.
Stats for all cars running the #32:
- Number of Races: 641
- Number of Wins: 2
- Number of Top 5s: 35
- Number of Top 10s: 109
- Number of Poles: 3
Check out current NASCAR race statistics here at On Pit Row!
Spotlight Subject: Driver Ricky Craven
Ricky Craven’s Cup Series career spanned 11 years. He has two Cup wins to his name, and both of those came in car #32 (Martinsville & Darlington); making Ricky the only driver to put the #32 in victory lane. In 278 Cup races, Ricky recorded 6 poles, 17 top fives and 41 top tens. But Ricky also holds the distinction of being part of two great and historic finishes in Cup Series racing.
The first historic finish would come in the 1997 Daytona 500. While he didn’t win the race or lead any laps, he would be part of a 1-2-3 finish for owner Rick Hendrick’s multi-car team. Jeff Gordon would win the race with teammates Terry Labonte in second and Ricky Craven in third. That third place finish stands as Ricky’s only top ten finish at Daytona in Cup Series competition.
The second finish is a very special one. For one, it came at one of my favorite tracks “The Lady in Black,” Darlington Raceway. A track with such rich history and deep roots in NASCAR racing, it’s only fitting that the track was the site for what now stands as the closest margin of victory and one of the most exciting finishes ever! Kurt Busch and Ricky Craven battling it out hard the last few laps of the race, nose to tail rubbing, fenders smacking the outside walls, tires sliding and smoking, drivers sawing the steering wheel as they put it all out on the line for the final laps of the race. It all came down to Ricky being scored as the leader for one lap, the final one. Literally nose-by-nose Craven and Busch crossed the line with a margin of victory of .002 seconds in favor of the the #32 Tide car.
The win would be Craven’s last and he hasn’t raced in Cup Series since 2004. However, it sure was a great win to go along with the 1992 Busch Series and 1995 Cup Series Rookie of the Year titles. That victory at Darlington was one of the most exciting finishes making me jump up off the edge of my seat as I watched Craven and Busch battle it out. To then see Kurt Busch visit Ricky in victory lane to congratulate him on the win was just awesome. I guess perhaps the two of them knew then that they just put on an awesome show for the fans, and in the process made a mark in the history books. Either way, it was a great show of sportsmanship by Kurt Busch and his stock went up dramatically in my book that day.
Ricky Craven Battles Kurt Busch at Darlington Raceway
There is no way possible to do this spotlight without also posting the video clip of this record setting finish.