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Kenseth wins delayed, dramatic Daytona 500

Matt Kenseth held on under a green-white-chequered finish to beat Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Greg Biffle to the line at the end of a wild 2012 Daytona 500.
There was a sigh of relief all around when the 54th Daytona 500 finally got underway at just after 7pm ET, almost 36 hours later than originally intended because of storm systems that had swept through the area and forced the race to be postponed to Monday for the first time in its history.

Perhaps the extended delay explains the pent-up aggression that emerged almost the minute the green flag did finally come out: Elliott Sadler charged into the back of Jimmie Johnson and spun the five-time champion's car around, with the unfortunate David Ragan ending up being first on the scene and ramming into the driver side door of the stricken #48.

"We just got caught up in it," said Ragan. "They started wrecking in front of us and we just couldn't get out of the way quick enough."

Ragan couldn't believe that he'd been wrecked that early in the race. "I can't wait to see who was the bonehead that did that," he said, before he was able to watch the replays. "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."

Despite the hard hit, Jimmie Johnson insisted that he was unhurt after the collision.

"I'm okay, I'm just really bummed-out," he told reporters after being checked over in the in-field medical centre. "That side hit was hard ... When I was left sitting in the middle of the race track, I knew at some point someone was going to come along unfortunately. David Ragan had nowhere to go. I unfortunately got drilled by him pretty hard."

Ragan and Johnson were out of the race, and the accident also caught up last year's Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne and Phoenix Racing's Kurt Busch, as well as Cup débutante Danica Patrick.

"I have no idea what happened," reported Bayne. "I tried to get as low as I could. I couldn't see what was going on. I got low and got slowed down and at the last second I think it was the #34 car [Ragan] that hit us in the right side door and put us into the grass. The only thing we really touched was the grass, but I guess it's so wet that it tore up the front of the car."

All three cars were seriously damaged and limped back to the garage for extended repairs, with Patrick not back out on track until the leaders were on lap 66. She was unable to make any progress for the rest of the night and finished classified in 38th place, 64 laps down as a result of the accident.

"It's disappointing," she admitted. "I would have loved to have gotten a great finish. I would have loved to have been able to run on the lead lap there at the end. I feel bad for disappointing my fans who were cheering for me, especially going out so early."




Related Pictures

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The #10 team of Danica Patrick works to repair the damage to her car after a Lap 2 accident during the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. [Picture Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Danica Patrick (#10) and David Ragan (#34) collide with the #48 of Jimmie Johnson on Lap 2 of the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. [Picture Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (#6) and Tony Stewart (#14) spin on Lap 197, triggering an eight-car accident that brought a green-white-checkered finish to the Daytona 500. [Picture Credit: Jerry Markland Getty Images for NASCAR]
Matt Kenseth raises the Harley J. Earl Trophy for the second time after winning the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. [Picture Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS, races to an eighth place finish with Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS who finished in second place Saturday night, April 9, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Alan Marler for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, races to a fourth place finish Saturday night, April 9, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Alan Marler for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, finishes in second place Saturday night, April 9, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Brian Cleary for Chevy Racing)
Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats Toyota, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 7, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s 75th Anniversary Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 3, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s 75th Anniversary Toyota, leads Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, and Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 3, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Great Clips Chevrolet, leads Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 2, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, drives during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 1, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Superman Chevrolet SS, races to his 77th career victory, Sunday, March 20, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.  (Photo by Garry Eller for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Superman Chevrolet SS, celebrates his 77th career win with a victory lap and checkered flag, Sunday, March 20, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.  (Photo by Garry Eller for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Superman Chevrolet SS, celebrates his 77th career victory Sunday, March 20, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.  (Photo by Gregg Ellman for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Superman Chevrolet SS, celebrates his 77th career victory with a wave of the chequered flag Sunday, March 20, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Garry Eller for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Superman Chevrolet SS, celebrates his 77th career victory, Sunday, March 20, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Superman Chevrolet SS, celebrates his 77th career victory, Sunday, March 20, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)

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