Feb 28 | Matt Kenseth Captures Second Daytona 500 Triumph
Matt Kenseth held off a hard-charging Dale Earnhardt Jr. to win his second career Daytona 500.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Roush Fenway Racing’s Matt Kenseth held off a hard-charging Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Roush Fenway Racing teammate Greg Biffle in a green-white-checkered finish to capture the coveted Harley J. Earl trophy for a second time in the 54th annual Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
For Roush Fenway Racing, which is celebrating 25 Years of Racing, it was the organization’s 300th NASCAR win and second triumph in the Daytona 500.
After rain postponed the start of the Daytona 500 for the first time in the history of the race, the field was able to take the green flag Monday night and the action did not disappoint.
“It feels great,” said Kenseth, who won a rain-shortened Daytona 500 in 2009. “We even went into overtime a bit since we didn’t quite go the whole distance the first time we won it.”
Kenseth had to overcome various mechanical issues with the No. 17 Best Buy Ford Fusion before making his way to Gatorade Victory Lane.
“We had a lot of problems and almost ended up a lap down,” Kenseth said. “I had my radio break, my (tachometer) break and we pushed all the water out (of the engine) and had to come in and put water in it. (The crew) did a great job. They never panicked and I think they enjoyed their day more because they couldn’t hear me on the radio with my radio problems. It was pretty cool to win the (Gatorade) 150 and I never dreamed we would be standing here tonight.”
The Fords were fast throughout Speedweeks and Kenseth had an incredibly strong car, leading 50 of the 202 laps around the 2.5-mile tri-oval. Kenseth stayed toward the front of the field throughout the night with the help of teammate Greg Biffle who finished third.
“The two of us together could make some unbelievable speed,” Kenseth said of working with Biffle. “I have to thank Greg. We worked together really good all day long.
“My car was one of the faster cars. It was harder for some of the cars to push me and stay locked on. We had enough speed once we took the white (flag) that I felt sort of okay about it. By the time I got to Turn 3, I could see they couldn’t get enough speed mustered up to try to make a move.”
RFR had arguably one of the best Speedweeks in the history of the organization. It started with Carl Edwards and Biffle sweeping the front row during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying and Kenseth starting fourth. Kenseth also won the second Gatorade Duel, giving RFR their very first Gatorade Duel win.
“It’s very fitting that Matt won the 300th victory here,” co-owner Jack Roush said. “It’s been quite a run. (Crew Chief) Jimmy Fennig has been with us most of the time and Matt has been with us most of the time as well. It’s great to celebrate our 300th win with the 54th Daytona 500. Of course, being Matt’s (and RFR’s) second 500 win makes it special as well.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr., who was the only member of Hendrick Motorsports running at the end of the race, finished second, .210 seconds behind Kenseth.
Martin Truex Jr. got a push to the lead from Denny Hamlin to win the $200,000 mid-race leader award and Danica Patrick made her first appearance in the Daytona 500, becoming only the third woman to do so (Janet Guthrie – 1977, 1980; Shawna Robinson – 2002). The No. 10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet sustained severe damage in the first caution of the night and she finished 38th. Also caught up in that incident was defending Daytona 500 champion Trevor Bayne who finished 35th.
Thirteen drivers exchanged the lead 25 times with Denny Hamlin leading a race-high 57.
During the seventh caution of the race, Juan Pablo Montoya lost control of his No. 42 Target Chevrolet and struck a jet dryer in Turn 3 resulting in a fuel spill and fire. Emergency crews responded and the race was red flagged for 2 hours, 5 minutes and 29 seconds. No one was injured.
Despite the rain delays, a great crowd was on hand for the first primetime start of the Daytona 500 on Monday night.
“I was impressed with the crowd,” DIS President Joie Chitwood said. “That really beat my expectation in terms of the first time we’ve ever had a rain delay. I was extremely happy and really pleased that the crowd stuck it out. It was the first time in 54 years that the race has been delayed until Monday, and of course the first time that’s it’s been run in prime time under the lights and we believe it’s the first time that our fans in the grandstands performed the wave. It was a fun crowd, they were reacting great and they stayed until the very end.”
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will return to Daytona International Speedway for the Independence Day holiday weekend for the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola on Saturday night July 7.
For tickets, call 1-800-PITSHOP or visit www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com
Time of Race: 3 Hrs, 36 Mins, 02 Secs. Margin of Victory: 0.210 Seconds.
Caution Flags: 10 for 42 laps.
Lead Changes: 25 among 13 drivers.
Lap Leaders: 0; G. Biffle 1-9; R. Smith 10-11; G. Biffle 12-14; P. Menard 15-16; D. Hamlin 17-40; J. Burton 41-57; J. Gordon 58; T. Stewart 59-60; J. Burton 61-67; G. Biffle 68-76; M. Truex Jr. 77-81; G. Biffle 82; T. Labonte 83-85; G. Biffle 86-99; M. Truex Jr. 100-101; D. Hamlin 102-129; G. Biffle 130; M. Martin 131-132; G. Biffle 133-138; D. Hamlin 139-143; J. Logano 144-145; M. Kenseth 146-157; G. Biffle 158; D. Blaney 159-164; M. Kenseth 165-202.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): D. Hamlin 3 times for 57 laps; M. Kenseth 2 times for 50 laps; G. Biffle 8 times for 44 laps; J. Burton 2 times for 24 laps; M. Truex Jr. 2 times for 7 laps; D. Blaney 1 time for 6 laps; T. Labonte 1 time for 3 laps; P. Menard 1 time for 2 laps; J. Logano 1 time for 2 laps; T. Stewart 1 time for 2 laps; M. Martin 1 time for 2 laps; R. Smith 1 time for 2 laps; J. Gordon 1 time for 1 lap.
Top 12 in Points: M. Kenseth - 47; D. Earnhardt Jr. - 42; G. Biffle - 42; D. Hamlin - 42; J. Burton - 40; P. Menard - 39; K. Harvick - 37; C. Edwards - 36; J. Logano - 36; M. Martin - 35; C. Bowyer - 33; M. Truex Jr. - 33.
Feb 26 | 54th Annual Daytona 500 Postponed to Monday
The 54th annual Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway has been postponed due to rain showers and rescheduled for Monday, Feb. 27 at noon.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The 54th annual Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway has been postponed due to rain showers and rescheduled for Monday, Feb. 27 at noon (FOX).
WWE Superstar John Cena will deliver the command “Drivers, start your engines” and will wave the green flag to kick off the new NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.
Tickets for Sunday’s race will be honored on Monday. Tickets for the Daytona 500 will also be on sale at the gate or the Daytona International Speedway ticket office.
Monday’s schedule: 5 a.m. – Parking lots open
6 a.m. – Bus transportation begins
7 a.m. – Ticket offices open
7:30 a.m. – Trams begin running
8 a.m. – Gates and Sprint FANZONE opens
12:01 p.m. – Green flag for the 54th annual Daytona 500
The race will air on FOX at noon.
The Daytona 500 Champion’s Breakfast has been postponed to a later date.
Feb 26 | Multi-platinum, Grammy-Winning Group Train to Perform Pre-Race Concert for the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola
Three-time Grammy-winning group Train to perform pre-race concert for the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – After he delivers a rousing rendition of the National Anthem for the 54th running of the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 26, Train front-man Pat Monahan and the rest of the three-time Grammy-winning band will return to Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, July 7 for the 54th annual Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.
From the legendary pit road in the tri-oval area of the “World Center of Racing,” Train will perform a 60-minute pre-race concert prior to the Independence Day holiday classic.
All race fans that purchase a Pre-Race/Sprint FANZONE access pass for the Coke Zero 400 in addition to a race ticket will be able to view Train’s Coke Zero 400 Pre-Race Show as well as the driver introductions from the grass tri-oval area.
“We’re excited to have one of the most talented bands in the music business prelude the Coke Zero 400 with what’s sure to be a remarkable performance,” Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III said. “Train’s chart-topping songs will be a hit with our race fans as they countdown to the start of an exhilarating race under the lights.”
Train, which consists of Monahan, Scott Underwood and Jimmy Stafford, has earned three Grammys, two Billboard Music Awards for Top Rock Artist and Top Rock Song and an ASCAP Pop Music Award for Song of the Year.
The San Francisco-based group made their first mark on the music industry in 2001 with their double Grammy-winning single “Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me),” which remained on the Top 40 charts for nearly 40 weeks and made their second album Drops of Jupiter a multi-platinum international success. Other early hits include “Meet Virginia” and “Calling All Angels.”
Most recently, Train’s fifth album Save Me, San Francisco was certified platinum with three Billboard Hot 100 singles – “If It’s Love,” “Marry Me” and the Grammy-winning smash hit “Hey, Soul Sister.” “Hey, Soul Sister” also was the biggest selling single of 2010 and hit No. 1 on the radio in the U.S. and 15 countries abroad.
Their new album California 37 is due out April 17 and will include the single “Drive By,” which has already been climbing both the radio and sales charts.
Feb 25 | James Buescher Pulls Off The Upset To Win The DRIVE4COPD 300
Running in 11th place entering Turn 4 on the final lap, James Buescher was able to maneuver through a multi-car accident to win the DRIVE4COPD 300.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Running in 11th place entering Turn 4 on the final lap, James Buescher was able to maneuver through a multi-car accident and come away with his first NASCAR Nationwide Series win in a green-white-checkered finish in the 54th annual DRIVE4COPD 300 at Daytona International Speedway.
“It’s hard to put into words,” Buescher said of the win. “They all piled up in front of me and we made it through. It’s hard to describe the feeling when you make it through the wreck and you’re the only guy – you don’t see anyone in front of you and you’re coming to the checkered flag. It’s pretty incredible and I’ll definitely never forget it.”
Buescher, who is driving for Turner Motorsports in both the Nationwide and Camping World Truck series this season, led 10 laps before finishing 17th in Friday night’s NextEra Energy Resources 250. He now has two wins at the “World Center of Racing” with the previous triumph coming in the 2009 ARCA season opener.
“I can’t think of another race track that I would rather this (win) be at,” Buescher said. “Daytona is historical – everybody knows that – and every driver dreams of winning here. My goal as a young driver was to be able to race at Daytona in NASCAR and I’ve done that several times, but now I’ve finally won here. I don’t know how to put it into words.”
The win was an emotional one for Buescher’s crew chief Trent Owens.
“This is my first win as a crew chief in Daytona,” Owens said. “It’s bigger than life for me. I don’t think I’ve missed a July Daytona race since I was eight years old or so. This was a really big deal for me.”
There were a record 38 lead changes by a record 16 different drivers (previous records were 35 and 12, respectively) and Chevrolet has now won the series season-opener 22 times in the last 26 races.
Pole-sitter Danica Patrick led the first two laps, but her No. 7 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet sustained damage in an incident while drafting with teammate Cole Whitt on Lap 50 of the 120-lap race. She finished 38th.
Fourteen drivers in today’s race are pulling double duty this weekend and will be competing in Sunday’s Daytona 500. Brad Keselowski, who is the only driver who will be participating in all three NASCAR sanctioned events during Speedweeks 2012, finished second and Elliott Sadler rounded out the top three.