Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Kenseth Wins Bizarre Daytona 500

Poor Matt Kenseth. 

Matt Kenseth wins the Daytona 500.
The Best Buy Ford driver fended off late-race advances from Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Greg Biffle and Denny Hamlin early Tuesday morning to claim his second career Daytona 500 championship. And when it was over, people were talking about everything but him.

Kenseth’s victory -- the kind of understated, workmanlike effort that has characterized his NASCAR career -- came in the aftermath of the most bizarre race in Daytona 500 history. When people look back on Speedweeks 2012, they’ll remember a maddening rainout that delayed the race for the first time in its 54-year history, a horrifying caution-flag crash that immolated a track jet dryer and delayed the race’s finale by more than two hours and… oh yes… Kenseth.

Delayed more than 36 hours by a steady rain that enveloped the entire state of Florida, the Daytona 500 finally took the green flag just after 7 pm ET Monday; under the lights for the first time in the event’s storied history. Unfortunately, NASCAR’s first “Prime Time 500” was forced into infomercial territory by a bizarre incident with 40 laps remaining that stretched the bounds of believability.

Montoya's Third Turn Inferno
Under caution for David Stremme’s blown engine, Juan Pablo Montoya was hustling to catch the tail of the field when a mechanical failure sent his Target Chevrolet careening out of control and into the back of a jet dryer that was blowing debris from the track surface in Turn Three. The impact split the jet dryer’s fuel tank, igniting 200 gallons of jet fuel and sending a mushroom cloud of flame billowing into the night sky. Both Montoya and the driver of the jet dryer scrambled away without injury, but the inferno melted the demolished equipment into the race track, necessitating a two hour, five minute red flag while track crews extinguished the blaze, washed down the racing surface with a mixture of water and household laundry detergent and returned the track to raceable condition. 

“Tide… tough enough to clean Daytona International Speedway and your boxer shorts.” 

"It was bizarre," said Earnhardt, who waited out the delay before coming up a car length short in a bid to end his 1,351-day, 129-race Sprint Cup winless streak. "It was frustrating. Nothing like I've ever seen at a racetrack before."

The checkered flag finally fell at 12:56 am ET; long after most fans had drifted off to sleep; blissfully unaware of the insanity that had erupted around them. "When you think you have seen it all, (racing) finds a way to show you something you never thought you'd see," said Brad Keselowski during the stoppage. "And that's the case today in the Daytona 500."

Photo Credits: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images, Andrew Weber/US Presswire


  1. Anonymous1:33 PM

    I'd like to know why the driver of the Jet Dryer, the most flammable piece of equipment at the track, was wearing basically a t-shirt and jeans and a hat???? looked like a farmer being helped down the track surface by the resue worker. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?????

    1. Anonymous2:32 AM

      He`s a big boy he can make his own choises

    2. Anonymous6:31 PM

      He shouldn't have choices. He should be in a fire suit like every other rescue worker and track official. Period.

  2. Anonymous1:34 PM

    Dave, with the race shown in Prime-time and obviously many new viewers due to that....how will NASCAR top the 500 next week in Pheonix (which is a boring track) and keep the new viewers watching ? They will be tuning in expecting to see more of the same and wont get it.



    1. Brando in WA3:18 PM

      The broadcast team did a great job with explaining rules of the sport to the 'new audience', if that continues into Phoenix I'd say some of them will stick around. Plus, the new Phoenix layout is not boring. If Pocono was next week there'd be reason to worry.

  3. Anonymous1:47 PM

    That is not uncommon with Kenseth's wins. He won Dover and all everybody talked about was why Johnson and Edwards took 4 tires. He won Charlotte, and all everyone talked about was Johnson's wreck.

    1. Anonymous2:36 AM

      That jet dryer was kinda cool

  4. Yea, I tried but didn't make it to the end,either. I woke up in time to hear the post-race interviews then went back to sleep. Saw the finish this morning on You Tube. Only have one thing to say, what in the world was Biffle thinking? I'm on record with my friends having said that Biffle some how figures out how to lose a race. I had no do dog in that hunt since I'm not a fan of the 16, 17 or 88, but what type of strategy was that at the end?

  5. Anonymous1:51 PM

    A nice 9.2 tv rating from 10-10:15 pm too, not bad for a twice rescheduled race.

  6. How many cars over speedweeks were wrecked? A few million dollars worth??? This is not racing.. This is crash up derby. I personally did not like this Daytona 500. If one is into crashes, and wrecks, then the show on Speed, "The dumbest stuff on wheels" is what the doctor ordered. This is very cheap imitation of old pack racing. Just watch out for the 5 mile an hour jet dry truck.

  7. This year's Daytona 500, and the new pack racing reminds me of an ex girlfriend... We dated for a long time, really cared for each other.. Then one day an unfortunate incident happened, and we broke up. After a while, we started seeing each other again, but it was never the same as it was before the break up.. Much like this new pack racing... It may look somewhat like the past, but, it don't race like the past... Just my opinion.

  8. Anonymous2:32 PM

    I would like to know if JPM was on the gas when whatever it was that broke happened? We were just inches from a major catastrophe.

  9. Anonymous3:32 PM

    Maybe Nascar should have all cars slow down around these jet dryers. I blame JPM for this, he knew he had a problem and should have more cautious around the track workers. Check out the car on a part of the track that had no track workers.

  10. Anonymous2:43 AM

    I wonder how kurt bush is going to like driving the42- jpm on his way out- idk- just a thought. badream

  11. Rick Reid12:24 AM

    I wanna know:
    Is TIDE the official detergent of NASCAR?