Congratulations to Matt Kenseth for his second win at the Daytona 500, after a multitude of weather delays, the 2012 Daytona 500 was finally held on Monday night. No one could have foreseen just what was in store for the 54th running of the Great American Race, marred by crashes, cautions and on-track fires.
Greg Biffle had the outside pole for the race, while Kasey Kahne was in position No. 20 in the starting grid. Both Washington natives stayed in the race until the late going, despite a number of crashes and cautions, including the big wreck during the second lap of the race that took out a handful of cars.
Favorites Jeff Gordon, and Jimmy Johnson also left the race before it reached the halfway point, due to crashes and mechanical issues. The most noteworthy and frightening moment of the race came during a caution flag with 40 laps left to go. Juan Pablo Montoya was circling the track as trucks equipped with jet dryers cleared debris. Montoya's car broke and lunged to the right, slamming into one of the dryers, igniting the jet fuel and causing a fire. A red flag went up and a two-hour delay ensued, during which the fire was extinguished and the track repaired. Amazingly, there were no significant injuries during the night.
With just 12 laps to go, Kahne was involved in another big wreck, one that resulted in the ninth caution flag of the race. This last "Big One" took out seven cars, Including Kahne's. Kahne finished the race in 29th place as a result.
Although winning a spot in the front row rarely leads to a Daytona win, Biffle started the race in second place and was still in second place with 10 laps remaining. Biffle was making a play for the lead when yet another wreck took out a half-dozen cars with just a few laps left. As the white flag came out, Biffle and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. were chasing Matt Kenseth, but neither driver was able to catch the number 17.
Kenseth picked up his second career Daytona 500 victory and 22nd career win, in one of the most interesting and wild starts to a NASCAR Season. Biffle settled for third place, behind Earnhardt, Jr.
Photo Credit: Motorsports Images and Archives