Daytona 500 Double for Kenseth

Matt Kenseth

Matt Kenseth is the ninth driver to win multiple Daytona 500s. (Photo: Getty Images)

Matt Kenseth outran Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Greg Biffle to the checkered flag to capture his second career Daytona 500 Monday night into early Tuesday morning.

The Roush Fenway Racing driver followed his 2009 win with another trip to Victory Lane to cap a bizarre night of racing.

The dash to the finish was set up by a lap 197 accident that saw Ricky Stenhouse Jr. slide into Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman, David Reutimann, Kyle Busch, David Gilliland and Dave Blaney were collected.

On the green-white-checkered restart, Kenseth got a push from RFR teammate Biffle to the lead and was able to hold off a hard charging Earnhardt to take the checkered flag.

“I really have to thank Greg Biffle. We both had really fast rockets, it just ended up whoever was in front in the end,” Kenseth said. “He pushed me and we could get clear of the car behind me and that was a big key.”

Biffle did his best to get around Kenseth in the final laps but could not muster a pass on the No. 17 Best Buy Ford.

"I don’t know what happened. He was against me for two full laps and I couldn’t pull up on the 17,” Biffle said. “It was like the 17 had more motor or something at the end. It was like he floored it and we couldn’t catch him.

“I tried to make a move on the back, but we didn’t have a run. I needed a gap between us and the 17 and we just didn’t have that gap. … I thought Junior would push me up to the back bumper of him and I would side-draft him and go by him and then it would be me and Junior at the line. But it wasn’t meant to be.”

Kenseth gave credit to his engine and the horsepower under the hood that allowed him to stay ahead of the pack.

“I have to give a lot of credit to Doug Yates and the guys at the engine shop," Kenseth said. "I could get a pretty good start on the bottom and either Denny or Dale Jr. could push me for a while and then they just couldn’t stay attached and I would get away from them."

Earnhardt came within one spot of ending his now 130-race winless drought.

“The Roush cars are just really strong, they showed that all week,” Earnhardt said. “I’m happy for Matt. He’s going to need that for his college fund. They’re in good shape now."

Biffle, Denny Hamlin and Jeff Burton rounded out the top five.

The race, which was originally scheduled for Sunday and postponed to Monday night for the first time in history, featured a variety of crashes and weird moments.

The fireworks started on lap two when a multi car accident took out a number of cars triggered when Elliott Sadler hit Jimmie Johnson to set off a chain reaction crash.

Kurt Busch, Danica Patrick, David Ragan and Trevor Bayne were also swept up in the melee with Kevin Harvick also receiving damage.

Johnson finished 41st and ended his Daytona 500 with a disappointment in his quest to get back to championship form in 2012.

“For all the hard work that has gone into getting this Chevrolet ready for tonight, we didn't get to complete 2 ½ miles of green-flag racing,” Johnson said. “I'm pretty bummed.”

Ragan was not pleased with Sadler’s move.

“It is ridiculous to sit around this long for the Daytona 500 and on the very first lap for someone to be driving as reckless as whoever caused that, someone had to cause it,” Ragan said. “It is just a shame for it to be that early in the biggest race, the first race of the year. We just got caught up in it.”

Patrick was disappointed by how her first career Sprint Cup Series start wound up.

“I just wish the beginning of the race could’ve been the nice single-file line that it was when I got back out there,” Patrick said after the race. “I did finish the race but just in that darn 38th position.”

The night’s most frightening accident came under caution when Juan Pablo Montoya lost control of his car and slid into a jet dryer on track under caution.

The impact caused a huge eruption of fire that engulfed the third turn pavement and retaining wall. Neither Montoya nor the safety truck driver was injured in the scary incident that forced a more than two hour red flag for repair.

“I really got out of the car fast,” Montoya said. “I looked up and I saw the guy out of the jet dryer. I saw a little bit of fire, my car was on fire. I saw the ambulance and walked to the ambulance.

“I am always really quick to get out of the car. In open-wheel they always check you at the beginning of the year and you have a certain time you have to get out. You really learn to get out of the car fast.”

Jeff Gordon had a rare blown engine knock him from the race on lap 81.

“There has been so much reliability testing that if we had seen some high temps or some high water pressure, then I would have kind of expected some of this to happen,” said the Hendrick Motorsports driver. “But, I was actually seeing some surprising low temps and low pressures. I don’t know, maybe something was off there.”

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series now heads to Phoenix International Raceway for next Sunday’s Subway Fresh Fit 500.

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup, Matt Kenseth

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