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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]
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images via Getty Images)
Regan Smith, interim driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS finishes in sixteenth place in the Daytona 500 Sunday, February 22, 2015 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS finishes in fifth place, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS finishes in 33rd place in the Daytona 500 Sunday, February 22, 2015 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. Gordon, who led for 87 laps,  was involved in a multi-car incident on the last lap. (Photo by HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS races to a third place finish with Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS who finishes in fifth place in the Daytona 500 Sunday, February 22, 2015 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by HHP/Alan Marler for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS pulls into his pit on his way to a second place finish in the Daytona 500 Sunday, February 22, 2015 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, and Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Percision Chevrolet, lead the field during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, and Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota, race three-wide during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, takes the yellow and chequered flags to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, poses with the The Harley J. Earl Trophy in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, applies the winner`s decal in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Smoke pours from the #2 Miller Lite Ford, driven by Brad Keselowski, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, lead the field to the green flag for the running of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Robert Reiners/Getty Images)

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