Matt Kenseth in the number 17 held off a field of 43 tired but determined drivers, surviving through 10 cautions to claim his victory at the 2012 Daytona 500. The race finally concluded under the lights at a little before 1am Tuesday morning. Kenseth, who is also the 2003 Winston Cup Champion, will celebrate his victory after winning the Great American Race for the 2nd time in his career. The race finish was exciting with a crash on lap 196, the race ended with a green-white-checker, where Greg Biffle’s blocking proved futile, as Kenseth pulled away to win, and Earnhardt Junior barely beat him across the finish line.
The rest of the top ten are as follows: 2–Dale Earnhardt Jr (88), 3–Greg Biffle (16), 4–Denny Hamlin (11), 5–Jeff Burton (31), 6–Paul Menard (27), 7–Kevin Harvick (29), 8–Carl Edwards (99), 9–Joey Logano, 10–Mark Martin (55).
Tonight’s Daytona 500 race was historic in two ways. First, this is the first Daytona 500 that had over a one day delay due to weather. Rain clouded the forecast for all of Sunday and most of Monday afternoon, with the green flag finally waving at 7:13pm EST. Second, Juan Pablo Montoya became the race’s famed “Big One” all by himself, causing a huge explosion when he lost control of his car and slammed into a jet dryer that was trying to clean the track from the previous accident. While “The Big One” title is usually reserved for the huge multi-car pileups we usually see in the closing laps of the race I think the title can describe Montoya’s stock car versus jet dryer showdown this time around– Needless to say, Montoya will likely see a lot of teasing from other drivers, for being the first driver to ever run into a piece of track-cleaning equipment.
While teasing is sure to follow, I think that, judging from the replays of the accident, a lot of focus will be placed on how good the safety equipment in these stock cars is–both Montoya and the driver of the jet dryer truck walked away from the accident and were later released from the infield care center.
I think the question we can ask ourselves is this: with such an exciting and bizarre start to the 2012 season, what else do you think we have in store for us?
Watch the video below of Montoya’s crash: