Race Weekend Central

Numbers Game: 2012 Daytona 500


Prior to Sunday’s washout (Feb. 26), the Daytona 500 had never been run on a Monday. There have been rain delays, pothole delays and even fire delays, but this year’s season opener was the first time the race had been pushed back a day.


The margin of victory race winner Matt Kenseth had over second-place Dale Earnhardt Jr. For most races that would be considered pretty close, but this was the greatest margin of victory since 2004, when Earnhardt beat Tony Stewart by .273 seconds.


Martin Truex Jr. has led at the halfway mark of the Daytona 500 for two straight races now. This time around, he got a reward for his efforts, earning $200,000 for leading lap 100.


Consecutive top-10 finishes in the Daytona 500 for Carl Edwards, the longest current streak of any driver.


Denny Hamlin ended the 36 hours of Daytona with a fourth-place finish, easily eclipsing his previous career best in the season opener, which was 17th.


With his runner-up finish, Earnhardt Jr. now has five podium finishes in the Daytona 500.


Since the very first Daytona 500 that allowed for green-white-checkered finishes back in 2005, there have been six instances of NASCAR’s version of overtime. The only two not to feature this was the 2008 running, which had its final restart with three to go, and a year later in the rain shortened 2009 event.


In his two Daytona races since scoring one of the biggest upsets of all time last year, Trevor Bayne has only been in contention for seven laps before wrecks eliminated any chances of victory. He was taken out on lap 4 of the July race last summer and was caught up in Monday’s first wreck on lap 3.


Tony Stewart owns 17 victories at the Daytona International Speedway, moving him into sole possession of second-most all time. However, his 16th-place effort this week made him 0-14 in the most important Daytona race of all.


By picking up his second Harley J. Earl trophy early Tuesday morning, Kenseth now has 22 career wins, moving him into a tie with Terry Labonte for 29th most all time.


Kenseth led the final 38 laps, which is the most without a lead change since Dale Earnhardt won the Daytona 500 in 1998, leading the event’s final 61 circuits.


Jimmie Johnson finished 42nd Monday night, equaling his career-worst finish. He also finished 42nd at the rain-shortened Pocono event in 2007.


Hamlin led a race-high 57 laps. In his six previous starts in the 500, he led only for 40 laps combined.


The number of minutes the red flag was out to repair track damages sustained from the jet fuel burning the track.


With Kenseth’s season opening victory, car owner Jack Roush now owns a combined total of 300 wins in Cup, Nationwide and Trucks.


Fans were able to return for Monday night’s marathon. The estimated attendance for the originally scheduled running was 180,000.

About the author

The Frontstretch Staff is made up of a group of talented men and women spread out all over the United States and Canada. Residing in 15 states throughout the country, plus Ontario, and widely ranging in age, the staff showcases a wide variety of diverse opinions that will keep you coming back for more week in and week out.

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