Daytona 500. NASCAR fans wait all year for this, and this year those who stuck with it despite a rain delay that lasted almost six hours were not disappointed with today’s Daytona 500 results. The rain delay turned into a tornado warning that cleared the stands, according to an SB Nation report.
By the time the race resumed, they had waited through the longest rain delay in the Daytona 500’s storied history, according to a FOX Sports report.
In case you didn’t stay glued to the TV for six hours waiting for the race to start again, here’s the short version: Dale Jr. – who started 9th – took the lead after the rain delay, led for 54 laps and held off a late charge by Denny Hamlin to take the checkered flag and win his second Daytona 500.
Before the race, Junior said:
“You never forget exactly what that day is like. We come here every year and it all floods back to you as soon as you come back for Speedweeks each season.You’re constantly reminded I think by just what goes on during Speedweeks how important that victory is and how much you would like to get it again. It’s definitely fresh.”
Dale Jr.’s win today puts him in rare company. Junior joins Richard Petty, Cale Yarborough, Bobby Allison, Bill Elliot, Sterling Marlin, Dale Jarrett, Jeff Gordon, Michael Waltrip, Matt Kensith and last year’s winner Jimmie Johnson as the only drivers to win two or more Daytona 500s.
With today’s Daytona 500 results, Dale Jr. passed his father, the legendary “Intimidator” Dale Earnhardt Sr. Despite being universally regarded as one of NASCAR’s all-time greats winning 76 races and seven NASCAR Winston Cups, the NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Dale Sr. only won one Daytona 500 – in 1998.
Kyle Bush was leading the pack when the red flag stopped the race during the 38th lap. He was followed by Kasey Kahne, Denny Hamlin, Brian Vickers and Paul Menard.
Jeff Gordon, who finished fourth behind Earnhardt Jr., Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski, said in an interview following the race that it was a “shootout” and there was “craziness” after the rain delay. Gordon said that he felt he had a good chance to win coming out of the rain delay but that he was “excited to see Junior win it.”
NASCAR fans on Twitter have something special to look forward to: Dale Jr. reportedly said that he would start a Twitter account if he won the Daytona 500. As of shortly after midnight, Dale Jr. has an account – and 228,000 followers – but hasn’t tweeted yet. You can follow him at @DaleJr.
You can find the complete Daytona 500 results here.