After a winless campaign in 2008, Matt Kenseth picked the biggest stage of all to return to Victory Lane after winning the 51st running of the Daytona 500.

Kenseth had been forced to start the race from the back of the field after an incident in the Gatorade Duel races on Thursday forced him to switch to his back-up car but after battling his way through the field chose the perfect time to hit the front when a push from Kevin Harvick allowed him to jump ahead of leader Elliott Sadler on lap 158.

That was just half a lap before Aric Almirola brought out the eighth caution of the race and on the final lap of green flag racing before the arrival of rain led to the race being stopped, with an emotional Kenseth being declared the winner for the Roush Fenway Racing squad.

"It's gonna be really wet out here because I'm crying like a baby," he said. "Winning the Daytona 500 is definitely a dream moment. It's just an unbelievable feeling.

"After last year, winning a race means a lot to me. We've had some really fast cars on the speedways in the past and I've just never been able to figure out how to do the right thing and today we were able to make the right moves. We got some weather, but yet we did race 400-and-some miles and we were able to pull it off. I was pretty miserable some nights because we just couldn't make our car handle and this back-up car is actually way better than the 500 car.

"I felt pretty good going into this morning, but I didn't dream we were going to win."

Kenseth also took chance to praise his team for its work during Speedweeks, from preparing his back-up car to carrying out the quick work on pitroad which put him in position to fight for the win.

"I've just really got to thank my team first of all for all the work they did this week," he said. "I put them in a hole wrecking on Thursday and they did just a tremendous job and had a great pit stop when we really needed it. I mean, that was a killer pit stop and it gave us the track position to be in position to win this thing."



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