Evan J. Smith
Mustang360 Network Content Director
March 5, 2012
Contributers: John Moore Photos By: John Moore

Capping off a stellar Daytona Speedweeks 2012 for Roush Fenway Racing (RFR), Matt Kenseth won the 54th running of the Daytona 500. This win marked Jack Roush's 300th national NASCAR series victory and Kenseth's second Daytona 500 win.

Even during pre-season testing in January, it was evident that all of the Fusions in the Ford Racing stable would be contenders for Daytona glory this year. Carl Edwards qualified on the pole with his RFR teammate Greg Biffle starting on the outside.

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Matt Kenseth started right behind Biffle as a result of his win in the second of the Gatorade Duel races. Kenseth's Duel win was a first for his new sponsor, Best Buy, which moved over from the Richard Petty Motorsports stable after the end of last season. Ford Fusions took six of the top ten spots in Sunday's qualifying thanks in part to the Roush Yates FR9 engines under the hood.

Despite the best attempts by NASCAR to dry the track for the usual Sunday afternoon, Mother proved too powerful, resulting in a rain delay of The Great American Race to the following evening, a first for the 500 in the race's 54 year history. Already an evening start, devoted fans had to wait into the wee hours of Tuesday morning for the finish of the race after a freak accident on lap 160 when a 3400 pound stock car spun into the back of a jet dryer, resulting in a fireball from the 200 gallons of jet fuel sprayed on the track. The race was stopped for 2 hours and 5 minutes to allow the track clean-up crews time to put out the fire, remove the wreckage and repair the fire damage to both the asphalt and the Turn 3 wall.

When the race was resumed, Kenseth went on to dominate the final 42 laps which included a dramatic Green-White-Checker finish to cap off what proved to be the most exciting Daytona 500 in years. It wasn't a walk in the park for the #17 Best Buy Fusion, as his Jimmy Fennig led crew had to work on the car for the first half of the race to get Matt in a position to work his magic. About the win, team owner Roush said "It's great to celebrate our 300th win here with the 54th Daytona 500, of course being Matt's second 500 win makes it special, as well."

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Race winner Kenseth is hoisting the Harley J. Earl Daytona 500 Trophy presented by track president Joie Chitwood III.