(WOMR file photo)
Matt Kenseth survived rain, wind, fire, and a mini-flood. No that wasn’t at his home in the off-season, that was at the race track this past weekend on his way to a great speedweek and winning his second Harley J. Earl trophy in four years! All total, Kensth led 50 laps of the, rain delayed 54th running of “The Great American Race”.
“It feels good,” he said. “We had a really fast car and have fast cars in the past and I figured out a way to mess it up. I am thankful everything worked out on the restarts and I am glad it all worked out.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. made a run at Kenseth coming out of the final turn but could only finish second.
Greg Biffle, Kenseth’s Roush Fenway Racing teammate, was third.
“We had great horsepower,” Kenseth said. “I could get a pretty good start on the bottom and either Denny (Hamlin) or Dale Jr. could push me for awhile and then they just couldn’t stay attached and I would get away from them just in time to get in front of Greg and the two of us together could make some unbelievable speed. I have to thank Greg. We worked together really good all day long. He had a really fast car all day as well.”
The flooding came on Sunday in the form of steady rain in the Daytona Beach area. The rain forced postponement of the start, first to Monday morning, and then, when it didn’t abate early in the day, until 7 p.m.
The fire came late in the race when the car of Juan Pablo Montoya broke during a caution. When the car broke as Montoya was heading up the back stretch, it spun out of control and into the rear of a jet dryer which was cleaning off the track. The dryer exploded in flames.
Jet fuel ran down the banking near Turn 3 and ignited. A huge fire ensued and it took track workers several minutes to extinguish. The red flag shut the race down for 2 hours and 5 minutes.
“Something fell in the rear of the car and the car just spun into the jet dryer. I felt a vibration and came in. They looked at everything and everything was ok and I still told them ‘I think there is something broke’ and I was coming back into the pits and the car just spun by itself.”
In addition to the rain, wind, fire, and the mini-flooding, there was wrecking, and there was lots of it! The return of the wrecking, or “the big ones” is due to the rules changes in the off-season. Those rule changes have re-instated the really tight pack racing, which is more exciting for the race fans, but bring with it huge wrecks during the race.
Notwithstanding the fact that I went 500 miles to watch the Gatorade Duels, the Camping World Truck race, the Nationwide Series race, and failed to see the rained out Daytona 500 on Sunday from the race track, watching the prime-time Daytona 500 from my own flat screen TV on Monday night was well worth the wait!
Check out the unofficial results of the 2012 Daytona 500.
What are your thoughts on the 2012 Daytona 500?
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!