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Kenseth wins delayed, dramatic Daytona 500

"Something with the new fuel injection pump system went wrong, we don't know enough about it to really understand exactly what happened," said Mears, who had been looking to hook up with Matt Kenseth to draft for the remainder of the race. "This is more heartbreaking than almost missing the show like last year because we had such a good race car. We were in very good position."

Kenseth and Biffle were still at the front for the restart on lap 182, but five laps later another multi-car accident broke out on the frontstretch. Jamie McMurray had been very squirrely off the turn and was finally sent into a spin after a hit from Joey Logano. McMurray then took a hard hit from Brad Keselowski who was then crunching into the wall, and a chain-reaction ensued from the chasing pack that caught up Carl Edwards, Kasey Kahne, Regan Smith and Aric Almirola among others.

"When you're in the middle of the pack at the closing stages of a restrictor-plate race, you're asking for trouble," shrugged a resigned Smith. "We were in the danger zone and sure enough we got caught up in someone else's mess. I knew we were in a bad position."

Tony Stewart was one of the more fortunate drivers, sneaking through the accident without incurring race-ending damage. But his luck ran out almost immediately after the restart, when Joey Logano made contact with Ricky Stenhouse who spun into the side of Stewart. That turned the #14 sideways and the inevitable pack racing Big One ensued catching out multiple cars including Kyle Busch and Ryan Newman.

With that incident occurring on lap 196 it meant that the race was pushed beyond its scheduled 200-lap race distance and into green-white-chequered conditions. Kenseth and Biffle were still in the lead for the final two-lap shootout with Earnhardt behind them waiting for Biffle to make a play for the race lead through the final corners.

"I was waiting and waiting," said Earnhardt about Biffle. "It looked like he might have been trying to make a move on the back straightaway, but nothing materialised.

"Then we came off four, and I kind of waited till the last minute for him to have his opportunity to try to pass Matt, and nothing was happening, so I just pulled out and went around him," he continued. Earnhardt's slingshot move shot him past Biffle and into second place at the line.

"On the backstretch I moved up a little bit, and Matt is not stupid; we had no run at him. We were all going the same speed," said Biffle, explaining why he hadn't been able to make any move on Kenseth. "So when I moved over, Matt just moved over real easy, and Junior is against my back bumper, so I'm trying not to wreck because he's shoving on me and I'm doing this down the back, and I'm like, 'I'm not going to be able to get a run at him.'"

While Earnhardt and Biffle battled over second, Kenseth had leapt away in front and had enough of an edge to stay there and take the chequered flag.

"I wasn't expecting to win when I woke up this morning so it feels good to be sitting here," said Kenseth afterwards, celebrating his second Daytona 500 victory and his 22nd race win in Sprint Cup competition in 437 starts. "We had a really fast car all day and overcame a lot of adversity and problems with the car that we figured out.




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]
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Pro Services Chevrolet, and Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour Energy Toyota, lead a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, finishes in ninth place Saturday night, August 22, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, finishes in second place Saturday night, August 22, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Pro Services Chevrolet SS, finishes in fourth place Saturday night, August 22, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, finishes in second place Saturday night, August 22, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Pro Services Chevrolet SS, qualifies for tenth position Friday, August 21, 2015 for Saturday night`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Johnson is sixth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, qualifies for seventh position Friday, August 21, 2015 for Saturday night`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Harvick leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Blaney, driver of the #29 Cooper Standard Ford, leads Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Great Lakes Flooring/Menards Toyota, during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 19, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Great Lakes Flooring/Menards Toyota, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 JEGS Toyota, race during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series UNOH 200 race, at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 19, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet, Tony Stewart, co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing, Sam Marson and Dave Marson, founders of Nature`s Bakery, pose for a photo opportunity after announcing a multiyear deal partnership during a press conference on August 18, 2015 in Kannapolis, North Carolina. The partnership will begin with the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for Stewart-Haas Racing)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 16, 2015 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 16, 2015 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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