Most people will never remember a great race with a so-so finish. You can rest assured that a race with a great finish will be remembered. It doesn’t even need to be a great race, but a finish makes everything. Final lap passes, battles that continue far past the finish line, and races that end with a crash are always the ones that go down in the halls of racing history.
I’ll never forget Valentino Rossi showing Jorge Lorenzo how it’s done at the 2009 Spanish MotoGP race (don’t ask me why I watch MotoGP). While I wasn’t even close to alive in 1971, I’ve seen videos of the top five finishers in the 1971 Italian Grand Prix finishing within 0.6 seconds of each other. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway seems to be a breeding ground for spectacular finishes, as evidenced by the countless duels for first place held there every race.
These ten finishes are my ten personal favorites, but I’m sure you’ve all seen some amazing finishes. I’d love to hear your stories, and if possible, put a YouTube link of that finish in your comment!
- The 2009 ALMS (American Le Mans) GT2 class finish at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca was one to remember. Just watch and learn how to pass…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brNtbaMadX4
- The 1992 Indy 500 featured Al Unser, Jr. and Scott Goodyear duking it out. This is a race I would have loved to see! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtiGra-pj5c
- The 2006 Indy 500 was exhilarating. Sam Hornish, Jr. was really going at it with Marco Andretti. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GT9R8xwu6rY
- The 2013 Firestone Indy Lights Freedom 100 had a four-wide finish. It was truly incredible to watch this finish on TV. Talk about a nail-biter! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wp1klmtsWQA
- The 2011 Indy 500 was won by Dan Wheldon, but talk about insanity! JR Hildebrand was right behind him, vying for first place, when he crashed in the final corner! This was a truly memorable race, and it will always be remembered, because it was the 100th annual running of the Indy 500. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tFV-85gyzQ
- I was quite the youngster for this race, and wish I could have been old enough to understand what was going on, but watching replays of the finish of the 2003 Darlington Speedway NASCAR race between Kurt Busch and Rickey Craven is truly spectacular. Rickey Craven ended up winning the race, but only barely. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jynmXmcT9_E
- Remember the 2009 MotoGP race I was talking about a little while ago? That race took place at Catalunya Raceway. Valentino Rossi won the race, making it his 99th win. It was a truly incredible finish! https://vimeo.com/32756097
- The 1993 Daytona 500 was epic. Dale Earnhardt, Dale Jarrett, Geoff Bodine, and Hut Stricklin, and Jeff Gordon all found themselves battling for first place. Jarrett managed to hold off Earnhardt for the win, but only barely. It was an incredible finish and one of the most famous calls in NASCAR history. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Gl9pgo9B5Q
- The 1986 Hungarian Grand Prix was the closest finish in Formula 1 ever. Nelson Piquet and Ayrton Senna went at it with Nigel Mansell. Mansell ended in third place, Senna was in second, and Piquet won after Senna went into an opposite lock drift. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIpdoqRS6_4
- Peter Gethin won the 1971 Italian Grand Prix. It would be his only F1 victory. The top five finishers all crossed the finish line within 0.61 seconds of each other. That was a close finish, but Piquet’s win was the closest ever.
Truly incredible finishes, right? Tell me what you think of my choices, and tell me yours!