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The 7 Greatest “Bump and Runs” in NASCAR History

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Joshua Lipowski

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The “Bump and Run” is a maneuver that became famous at tracks like Bristol Motor Speedway. It is one of the most iconic moves in NASCAR history, but what are the greatest versions of the move? Here are the best bump and runs in NASCAR history.

7. 2002 Food City 500: Kurt Busch vs Jimmy Spencer

Kurt Busch and Jimmy Spencer endured a fierce rivalry during the early 2000s, and it all started in 2002 at Bristol. Late in the race, Busch bumped Spencer off of turn two to take the lead. Busch went on to take the win, but Spencer responded by saying, “Jimmy Spencer never forgets”. The move set off the two’s rivalry, but it was also the first win in the career of Busch.

6. 2016 Toyota Owners 400: Carl Edwards vs Kyle Busch

The 2016 spring race at Richmond came down to a battle between teammates Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch. Most of the time, it has been Kyle who did the bumping, but he got a taste of his own medicine this Sunday. Edwards bumped Busch out of the way in the final corner on the final lap to take home the win, which was Edwards’ first of the season.

5. 2000 Pocono 500: Jeremy Mayfield vs Dale Earnhardt

Very few people rattled Dale Earnhardt’s cage throughout his career, but Jeremy Mayfield took advantage of that rare opportunity at Pocono in 2000. Mayfield went into turn three on the final lap with one option, bump Earnhardt and see what happens. The result, “The Intimidator” shot up the track as he was loosened up, and Mayfield took home the win.

4. 1997 Food City 500: Jeff Gordon vs Rusty Wallace Part 1

Jeff Gordon and Rusty Wallace made Bristol Motor Speedway their personal playground in the 1990s as the two combined to win 7 of 10 races there from August of 1994 through April of 1999. The two came together late in the 1997 Food City 500, and Gordon had one corner to make it happen. Gordon bumped Wallace just slightly heading into turn three, and Gordon took home the win.

3. 2002 Sharpie 500: Jeff Gordon vs Rusty Wallace Part 2

In 2002, Jeff Gordon and Rusty Wallace came together again, except now, they both carried long winless streaks into the race. Wallace seemed to have the race in hand, but some lapped traffic caused Gordon to catch up late. Gordon got just close enough to re-create his 1997 move, and he took home his first win in 31 races.

2. 2018 First Data 500: Joey Logano vs Martin Truex Jr.

Joey Logano and Martin Truex Jr. battled for a spot in the Championship 4 late at Martinsville in 2018. Truex Jr. held the lead, but Logano had other ideas as he put the bumper to Truex Jr. in turn three to take the lead and the win. Despite Truex Jr. saying “He won the battle, but he ain’t winning the damn war”, Logano went on to win the Cup Series Championship in large part because of this move at Martinsville.

1. 1999 Goody’s Headache Powder 500: Dale Earnhardt vs Terry Labonte

After being spun out from the lead late by a lapped car, Terry Labonte drove like a man on a mission to take the lead from Dale Earnhardt heading to the white flag. Labonte took the lead, but Earnhardt bumped him in turn two spinning Labonte out. Earnhardt took home the win claiming he just mean to “rattle his cage”, but the chorus of boos from the fans showed that they disagreed.

Will there be another iconic bump and run moment at Bristol this weekend? We will have to see, but bump and runs continue to happen throughout NASCAR history.

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Joshua Lipowski

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