DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The 2007 Daytona 500 produced the closest finish in the history of “The Great American Race.”
On a final green-white-checkered restart, Richard Childress Racing’s Kevin Harvick started seventh.
On the white flag lap, Harvick had worked his way to the front of the pack and was leading the outside line. In Turn 3, he got drafting help from Matt Kenseth and nipped Mark Martin at the start/finish line by .020 seconds, the closest Daytona 500 finish since the advent of computer scoring in 1993.
“This is the Daytona 500, can you believe it?” said Harvick after climbing out of his No. 29 Chevrolet to celebrate his first Daytona 500 triumph.
As Harvick and Martin took the checkered flag, chaos broke out behind them with a multi-car accident that included Clint Bowyer’s No. 07 Chevrolet flipping upside down and catching fire as he crossed the start/finish line
“I've been coming here since 1965 and it's the most exciting Daytona 500 finish that I've ever seen," Childress said the following day. “With the cars wrecking and side by side, and Kevin coming from seventh, it was an amazing finish and I'm just glad we were in front.”
Martin, who was driving a partial Sprint Cup Series schedule in the No. 01 Chevrolet for Ginn Racing, was seeking his first Daytona 500 win in his 23rd start.
During his post-race interview, he said the lack of drafting help coming off of Turn 4 was the difference in the finish.
“When I looked up there at the end, I was minus any pushers,” Martin said. “I didn’t have any help to get it done and that’s the way it goes.”
Today, Martin is still hunting for that elusive Daytona 500 win having made his 28th Daytona 500 start in 2012. Martin’s best result in the Daytona 500 remains his runner-up finish in the 2007 Daytona 500.
Harvick’s victory was Richard Childress Racing’s first since 1998 and he became the fifth driver to win the Daytona 500 and the DRIVE4COPD 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race in the same year.
"To win the Daytona 500 is as big as it gets in our sport," Harvick said. "It's what has made NASCAR racing what it is today. To be a part of those chapters in the history book is pretty special to be a part of.”
Tickets for the NASCAR’s biggest, richest and most prestigious race – the 55th annual Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 24 – start at $65 and are available at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.
For the second straight year, the Speedway is offering special youth pricing for the Daytona 500. Children 12 and under will receive 50 percent off all backstretch grandstand seats for the Daytona 500 while supplies last. In addition, children 12 and under are free in the Sprint FANZONE throughout Budweiser Speedweeks.
Fans can follow NASCAR on Twitter (@NASCAR) and stay up to speed on the latest news by using hashtags #NASCAR and #DAYTONA500 and #NASCARBattle. In addition, fans can also stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest for all the latest news all season long.