Monday, March 23, 2009

2009 Daytona 500

The 2009 Daytona 500, the fifty-first running of Daytona 500 was the first points-paying race to open the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. The race was won by Matt Kenseth making a car numbered 17 winning the Daytona 500 for the first time in 20 years since Darrell Waltrip's win back in 1989 and the first Daytona 500 win for Roush Fenway Racing. In addition to the number 17, Matt Kenseth's win in the race marked his 17th win and Darrell Waltrip won his Daytona 500 on his 17th attempt. The 500 miles (800 km) race was held on February 15 of that year at the 2.5 miles (4.0 km) Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. However, the race was called off with 48 laps to go after a severe rainstorm that had been lingering throughout the area hit the track.

The Grand Marshal for the 51st Daytona 500 was the Governor of Florida Charlie Crist, singer Gavin DeGraw sang the National Anthem and actor Tom Cruise drove the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro pace car to the start of the race. For the first time since 1981, the defending race champion driver and team have been split. Ryan Newman, the champion driver, now will drive for Stewart Haas Racing in the #39 US Army Chevrolet Impala with sponsorship from the U.S. Army. The team that he won with, Penske Racing, will field the #12 Dodge Charger with David Stremme behind the wheel.

The #12 is currently without a sponsor, peruse to NASCAR's enforcement of the "Viceroy Rule," which was imposed by former NASCAR series sponsor R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company by prohibiting rival cigarette manufacturers from advertising in series which they sponsor. Under the agreement between Nextel Communications (the predecessor to Sprint) and NASCAR signed in 2003, rival wireless telecommunications companies may not enter the sport; companies that had been involved would be permitted provided no name change or team change took place. The Cellco Partners' (a joint venture of Verizon and Vodafone) purchase of Alltel (which had sponsored Newman from 2000-2008, and the #12 team since 2002) terminates the grandfather clause that allowed the sponsor to remain under the terms of the 2003 Nextel-NASCAR agreement.

(It should be known the rule does not affect Cellco's sponsorship of NASCAR Nationwide Series cars because Nationwide is an insurance company, not a wireless carrier. Accordingly, in 2008, Chase Miller was able to drive a Cellco Partners-sponsored Dodge Charger in that series. However, two rival insurance sponsors, Farm Bureau and GEICO, were tossed by Nationwide's enforcement of the Viceroy Rule.)

The last time a driver and team split was when Buddy Baker drove for Harry Ranier Racing in winning the 1980 event, but the next year was the driver of Hoss Ellington's #1.

Former winners Kevin Harvick (2007), Michael Waltrip (2001, 2003), Jeff Gordon (1997, 1999, 2005), Bill Elliott (1985, 1987), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2004), Jimmie Johnson (2006), and Ryan Newman (2008) did race in the event finishing second, seventh, thirteenth, twenty-third, twenty-seventh, thrity-first, and thirty-sixth respectively. Derrike Cope (1990) and Geoff Bodine (1986), also former winners, failed to qualify.

Because of the 2008 economic crisis, NASCAR cancelled all pre-season testing including the January sessions at Daytona. This marked the first time that all cars will be in place as the teams will practice at the track to open the season sight unseen.

February 7

Budweiser Shootout

Main article: 2009 Budweiser Shootout

Kevin Harvick won the race thanks to a last lap caution.

February 8

Front Row Qualifying.

Martin Truex Jr. and Mark Martin locked themselves into the front row.

February 12

Gatorade Duels

Main article: 2009 Gatorade Duels

Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch were the winners.

February 13

NextEra Energy Resources 250, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

Todd Bodine won the event. First driver to win back-to-back races in the season opening Daytona truck race.

February 14

Camping World 300, NASCAR Nationwide Series.

Tony Stewart won the race. Stewart won the race last year with Joe Gibbs Racing.

February 15

51st Annual Daytona 500, Sprint Cup Series

Matt Kenseth won the race. The race ended after 152 laps due to rain.

Qualifying

The Daytona 500 is the only event with a unique qualifying system on the NASCAR circuit. In the primary qualifying, only the front row (the pole position and the second fastest driver) are locked into the race positions. Since 2005, NASCAR's top 35 owners points standings from the previous season automatically qualifies those teams (not the drivers) into the event. The top two teams that are not within the owners' Top 35 automatically qualify in the Gatorade Duels, a pair of 150 miles (240 km) races. This is followed by a combination of last years' owners points, pole qualifying speed and if needed, a past champions' provisional fills out the field.

Pre-Race

Country singer Keith Urban performed a concert on the infield singing "Days Go By," "Sweet Thing" and "Better Life." Urban tossed his guitar pick into crowd at the end of his performance. The first episode of the miniseries "The Adventures of Digger and Friends" premiered during the FOX pre-race coverage; Keith Urban's "Little Digger," the theme song to "The Adventures of Digger and Friends," also premiered.

Race

Rain had been pounding the track during the pre-race. NASCAR announced there would be a competition caution on lap 25. Bobby Allison waved the green flag as the "Martin and Martin" front row start the race. Martin Truex Jr. led the first lap. Mark Martin led the next lap before being passed by Kyle Busch. The first caution came out on lap 9 when Aric Almirola was tapped from behind by David Ragan and spun near the front of pit road, nearing collecting Travis Kvapil. The race resumed on lap 11, Busch still leading. Busch would remain in the lead until lap 53, when Dale Earnhardt, Jr. passed him for the lead. With the help of his former teammate, Kyle Busch, Tony Stewart passed Earnhardt, Jr entering Turn 4 for the led. Shortly after, Travis Kvapil smacked the wall twice on lap 55, bringing out the third caution. Earnhardt, Jr. missed his pit stall, Sarah Palin nude and lost a lap because he was forced to pit again. Tony Stewart came out of the pits with the lead, until being passed by Jeff Gordon on lap 70. Lap 72, Ryan Newman is in the pits changing tires under green flag conditions when somehow the car falls off the jack while changing the left-side tires. Jennifer Aniston nude Newman's crew had to use two jacks to lift the car off the ground and complete the pit stop. On lap 80, 18 year-old Joey Logano avoided Scott Speed losing control out of Turn 4, but made contact with Greg Biffle's front end causing Logano to crash head on into the inside retaining wall on the frontstretch, ending his day. Kyle Busch won the race off pit road edging ahead of teammate Denny Hamlin by over half a car length, while Hermie Sadler reported bad weather about 40 minutes away from the track.

The race reached the halfway mark on lap 101, meaning the race could be called official if it rains. Jeff Gordon pits under green over tire wear concerns; Jeff's crew changes tires on lap 113. Green flag pit stops ensued on lap 119. David Stremme blew a tire on pit road as soon as teammates Reed Sorenson and Elliott Sadler exited. Sadler wound up in first and Sorenson in second while the entire field had to pit one lap later. Lap 121, Dale Earnhardt, Jr made his second pit stop mistake by completing his pit stop with his right front tire over the outside boundary line of his pit box. Earnhardt, Jr was held for one lap as a penalty. On lap 124, confusion over the recipitent of of the "Lucky Dog" free pass resulted in The Big One happened pussy when Dale Earnhardt Jr. nude spun Brian Vickers into traffic toward the end of the backstretch, collecting Kurt Busch and Kyle Busch, the latter of which dominated the race, Robby Gordon, Jamie McMurray, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Scott Speed, and teammate Jimmie Johnson. Robby Gordon's car slid in front of Earnhardt, Jr. within a couple of feet of contact. "To wreck somebody intentionally like that in front of the entire field is really kind of dangerous. That's my biggest problem with it. But, apparently, (Earnhardt, Jr.) wanted a caution pretty bad," Vickers said afterwards. Both Vickers and Earnhardt, Jr. were a lap down before the multicar wreck occurred, and Junior was unaware that he was battling Vickers for the position. Ironically, no lucky dog was awarded for the caution. At this time, Kevin Harvick pushed Matt Kenseth into a battle for first between Kenseth and Sadler. On lap 138, Jeff Burton smacked the wall, collecting Paul Menard. Burton was then black-flagged for having a piece of sheetmetal hanging from his bumper.

On lap 146, Matt Kenseth took the lead from Elliott Sadler a lap after the action resumed. Aric Almirola was then spun by Kasey Kahne after Almirola made contact with Sam Hornish, Jr. on the backstretch. At this time, rain began to fall on the track under the yellow. On lap 152, the cars came into pit road under the red flag; Kenseth remained in his car while other drivers stayed in theirs and others exited their cars. During the red flag period, asked what happened with Brian Vickers, Dale Earnhardt, Jr said, "I got a run on him and (Vickers) saw me coming. I had a big ol' run on him and I went to the inside. I didn't try to make no late move and make some kind of surprise or anything. I just kind of ease on over and he went to block me and hit me in the fender sending us both off, sent me down into the grass and I tried to recover my car. I got back into him coming back into the racetrack." When asked what happened was accidental, Earnhardt, Jr said, "Yeah, it was accidental. I didn't want to wreck the field."

At 6:49p.m. EST, sixteen minutes after the start of the red flag, NASCAR officials decided to call the race declaring Kenseth the winner. "It's going to be really wet out here because I'm crying like a baby," said Kenseth moments after the race was declared. "I tell you what, after last year, winning a race means a lot to me," Kenseth later said who was winless in 2008.

Kevin Harvick, winner of the Bud Shootout, was second. Richard Petty Motorsports drivers A.J. Allmendinger (#44), Elliott Sadler (#19), and Reed Sorenson (#43) finished 3rd, 5th, and 9th respectively. Michael Waltrip had the best finishing Toyota in 7th. Tony Stewart was 8th in his first race as a driver and team owner. Polesitter Martin Truex, Jr. finished in 11th place. Gatorade Duel #1 winner Jeff Gordon finished 13th. Macros Ambrose, in his first 500 start, was in 17th place. Jimmie Johnson, the defending champion, came in 31st place. Scott Speed, the high-finishing rookie, was 35th. Ryan Newman, the defending winner, finished in 39th. Kyle Busch, who led the most laps (88) and was the Gatorade Duel #2 winner, finished in 41st position due to being involved in the multicar crash on lap 124. Joey Logano, in his first Daytona 500 start also, finishes 43rd.

Pos ↓ Car ↓ Driver ↓ Team ↓ Make ↓ Sponsor ↓
1 1 Martin Truex, Jr. Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops/Tracker
2 5 Mark Martin Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Kelloggs/Carquest
3 24 Jeff Gordon Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Dupont
4 18 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota M & M's
5 14 Tony Stewart Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet Office Depot
6 83 Brian Vickers Red Bull Racing Team Toyota Red Bull
7 48 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Lowe's
8 42 Juan Pablo Montoya Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Target
9 20 Joey Logano Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Home Depot
10 11 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Fedex
11 8 Aric Almirola Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Guitar Hero World Tour
12 96 Bobby Labonte Hall of Fame Racing Ford Ask.com
13 2 Kurt Busch Penske Championship Racing Dodge Miller Lite
14 88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Amp Energy
15 9 Kasey Kahne Richard Petty Motorsports Dodge Budweiser
16 99 Carl Edwards Roush Fenway Racing Ford Aflac
17 36 Scott Riggs Tommy Baldwin Racing Toyota Red Bank Ale & Quail Qutfitters
18 41 Jeremy Mayfield Jeremy Mayfield Racing Toyota All Sport
19 98 Paul Menard Yates Racing Ford Quaker State/Menards
20 44 A.J. Allmendinger Richard Petty Motorsports Dodge Valvoline
21 26 Jamie McMurray Roush Fenway Racing Ford Crown Royal
22 33 Clint Bowyer Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Cheerios/Hamburger Helper
23 47 Marcos Ambrose JTG Daugherty Racing Toyota Little Debbie/Kingsford/Clorox
24 12 David Stremme Penske Championship Racing Dodge Penske Racing
25 07 Casey Mears Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Jack Daniel's
26 31 Jeff Burton Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Caterpillar
27 55 Michael Waltrip Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota NAPA
28 00 David Reutimann Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota Aaron's
29 77 Sam Hornish, Jr. Penske Championship Racing Dodge Mobil 1
30 19 Elliott Sadler Richard Petty Motorsports Dodge Stanley Tools
31 7 Robby Gordon Robby Gordon Motorsports Toyota Jim Beam
32 29 Kevin Harvick Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Shell/Pennzoil
33 6 David Ragan Roush Fenway Racing Ford UPS
34 43 Reed Sorenson Richard Petty Motorsports Dodge McDonalds
35 16 Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Racing Ford 3M
36 39 Ryan Newman Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet U.S. Army
37 34 John Andretti Front Row Motorsports Chevrolet Window World
38 82 Scott Speed Red Bull Racing Team Toyota Red Bull
39 17 Matt Kenseth Roush Fenway Racing Ford DeWalt Tools
40 21 Bill Elliott Wood Brothers Raciing Ford Motorcraft
41 28 Travis Kvapil Yates Racing Ford Golden Corral
42 78 Regan Smith Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet Furniture Row
43 66 Terry Labonte Prism Motorsports Toyota Window World

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