Did ARCA race produce the closest stock car finish ever?

After Friday’s announcement that NASCAR was adding the ARCA Racing Series to its portfolio, ARCA drivers Zane Smith and Joe Graf Jr. finished off an overtime duel in the General Tire 200 that may have produced the closest finish in modern stock car racing history.

Smith edged Graf by roughly one centimeter at the stripe, requiring a photo finish before the winner could be determined. Because ARCA timing and scoring is limited to hundredths of a second, the monitors in the media center showed a dead heat.

ARCA officials estimated a difference of .0029 seconds, but it was closer than that. In the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Daytona in February, Tyler Reddick beat Elliott Sadler to the finish line by .0004 seconds, another estimate, given that NASCAR timing measures differences to thousandths of a second but not beyond.

The physical difference at the line between Reddick’s and Sadler’s cars was approximately three inches. The margin between Smith and Graf was smaller, no matter what the numbers might say.

Greg Engle
About Greg Engle 7421 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.