Matt Kenseth wins at Daytona

Matt Kenseth takes the lead after rain, fire, laundry detergent, and a lot of delays

WRITTEN BY: Brittney Elkins
Matt Kenseth at Bristol Motor Speedway, August 25, 2007.
Image Source: Kim Phillips via Wikimedia Commons
Matt Kenseth at Bristol Motor Speedway, August 25, 2007.

Matt Kenseth couldn’t be stopped by fire, rain or Tide laundry detergent at the 2012 Daytona 500.

Matt Kenseth won the race early Tuesday morning, finishing ahead of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and teammate Greg Biffle. It was Matt Kenseth’s second time winning the Daytona 500.

The 54th running of the Daytona 500 won’t be easily forgotten by racing fans. After several rain delays on Sunday afternoon, the race was postponed to Monday, making it the first Daytona 500 to be postponed and the first ever NASCAR race run in prime-time television.

The race was pushed back to 7 p.m. Monday after Juan Pablo Montoya crashed into a safety truck meant to dry the track. The truck was filled with about 200 gallons of jet fuel, and the collision caused the truck to ignite, scorching the track and pushing the race back another two hours.

Before the race could resume, track officials had to clean the track with water, speedy dry, and what else? Tide laundry detergent.

Both Juan Pablo Montoya and the truck driver were released from health centers.

Matt Kenseth took the lead once the race resumed and held his position for the last 34 laps. The race finally ended just a few minutes past midnight, 36 hours after it began. Matt Kenseth is now one of only nine drivers to have won the Daytona 500 multiple times.

Matt Kenseth lost radio communication with his team early in the race, and at one point, his engine was so hot that water began to spew from under his hood.

“We had a lot of problems and almost ended up a lap down,” Matt Kenseth said after the race. About his racing team he added, “These guys 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. My guys did a good job.”

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