Originally scheduled to start on Sunday afternoon, the Daytona 500 eventually finished in the early morning hours Tuesday, when Matt Kenseth took the checkered flag. During that time, the Great American Race experienced a full rainout on Sunday, another rain delay on Monday, and a two-hour red flag on Monday night after Juan Pablo Montoya’s car locked up coming out of the pits on a caution necessitated by David Stremme’s engine blowup (his wasn’t the only one– Jeff Gordon’s blew up too) on about lap 157 and slid into one of the jet dryers that was cleaning the track during the caution. Montoya’s car tore a hole in the jet dryer’s fuel tank before bouncing to the infield and catching fire. As jet fuel poured out of the service vehicle, it too caught fire, and proved challenging to extinguish.
They eventually did, though, and Kenseth won the race when it restarted with forty laps to go, fending off Greg Biffle and a charging Dale Earnhardt Jr., who finished second. If this race was any indication of what the 2012 season will be like, we’re in for a long and exciting one.