Matt Kenseth made the NASCAR world right by winning the race and Kevin Harvick, a former Daytona 500 winner, came in second.
“I think in the garage it will definitely be a popular win,” Harvick said. “I think Matt’s obviously a pretty stand up person and a great racecar driver, accomplished a lot in this sport. I think a lot of us can relate to Matt for kind of going out of the spotlight. I think he’s one of those guys that he can win seven or eight races in a year and never receive any credit. He’s a really good racecar driver. He’s a champion, Daytona 500 champion. I think a lot of times some of those things are overlooked.”
After the top-two drivers, the list of finishers gets a little curious. A.J. Allmendinger was third and Elliott Sadler was fifth, giving the newly formed Richard Petty Motorsports two drivers in the top five. This coming days after Kyle Petty criticized the new team. This coming weeks after Sadler had to fight and threaten a lawsuit to keep his seat in the No. 19 Dodge.
“I’m going to be honest with you. I’m not going to lie to you. I was getting pretty emotional under the caution when it was raining a little bit in turn one and two,” said Sadler, who was leading moments before rain started falling on the race track. “I thought it was going to be called a little bit earlier than it was. I was getting emotional in the car thinking, Wouldn’t this be the coolest story? I came down here as a fan the first time in 1979 and finished second to Ward Burton, and now to have a chance to win the race.”
David Ragan was sixth, Michael Waltrip was seventh, Tony Stewart was eighth and Reed Sorenson was ninth.
It shouldn’t be that surprising to see Ragan in the top 10. He has been expected to be a top 10 driver, even a contender to win races, since joining Roush Fenway Racing last year.
It was Waltrip’s best finish since winning a rain-shortened Daytona 500 in 2003.
Stewart, driving for his own team for the first time in his NASCAR career, and driving a back-up car because he wrecked with teammate Ryan Newman in practice on Saturday, actually led the Daytona 500 for a time and looked like he might have a car that could win the race.
Sorenson, driving another one of the Richard Petty Motorsports cars, made it quite a debut for the newly formed team.