For the first time in it’s illustrious 53 year history the Daytona 500 was postponed and run on Monday, and for the thousands of people that showed up to Daytona, (and for the fans watching at home also) the race didn’t disappoint. The race, as many had expected, was plagued by rain and delayed to 7 p.m E.T but what also plagued the race for more than was something that no one saw coming, fire. During lap 160 in turn three driver Juan Pablo Montoya lost control of his Chevrolet and slid into a jet-powered drying truck that.
The impact immediately caused Montoya’s car and the jet-dryer to erupt in flames and spilled nearly 200 gallons of jet fuel onto the track which also erupted into flames and took nearly 10 minutes to extinguish. The whole ordeal caused the race to be delayed exactly 2 hours, 5 minutes, and 29 seconds (yes I timed it) and nearly halted the race from finishing as the track was damaged.
NASCAR officials came out and declared, that after work had been done to fix the track, the race could begin again. That’s when the real racing started. Drivers were jockeying for position and racing hard to get to the lead as rain was expected to hit the track, again, and there was a possibility that the race would be called off and the leader declared the winner (just like the winner of this year’s Daytona 500 won his first one in 2009). But with all of this aggressive racing going on behind the leader, Kenseth, one thing remained the same and that is that this race was Kenseth’s to lose.
Kenseth led for 50 laps, second most behind Denny Hamlin (57) who finished fourth, and was in control of the race for the last 40 laps. “We had a great horsepower, pretty unbelievable speed and it just came down to whoever was in the front at the end,” said Kenseth, who won his second Daytona 500, his first coming in 2009. “They enjoyed their day more because they couldn’t hear me on the radio often.”
The man that Kenseth held off, Dale Earnhardt Jr., had this to say about Kenseth’s impressive performance, “We couldn’t ever get to Matt,” said Earnhardt, whose winless streak now stands at 130 races. “I kind of waited til the last minute. I thought it was a great race. I want to thank the fans for sticking around on a Monday night and everyone who tuned in at home. Sorry about the delay and everything.” Earnhardt Jr. made a push in the last few laps but it just wasn’t enough to catch the #17 Ford. Certainly a disappointing start to the NASCAR season for Earnhardt Jr. but a rather exciting start to the season for Kenseth.
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