2009 Daytona 500
The 2009 Daytona 500, the 51st running of the event, was held on February 15, 2009 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida as the first points-paying race of the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup season and the last 500 of the 2000s decade. The race was won by Matt Kenseth, making a car numbered 17 winning the race 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. The race was called off with 48 laps to go after a severe rainstorm that had been lingering throughout the area hit the track.
|Race 1 of 36 in the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series|
|Date||February 15, 2009|
Daytona International Speedway|
Daytona Beach, Florida, U.S.
Permanent racing facility|
2.5 mi (4.023 km)
|Distance||152 laps, 380 mi (610 km)|
|Scheduled Distance||200 laps, 500 mi (804.672 km)|
|Weather||Temperatures reaching up to 73.9 °F (23.3 °C); wind speeds up to 8.9 miles per hour (14.3 km/h)|
|Average speed||132.816 miles per hour (213.747 km/h)|
|Driver||Earnhardt Ganassi Racing|
|Qualifying race winners|
|Duel 1 Winner||Jeff Gordon||Hendrick Motorsports|
|Duel 2 Winner||Kyle Busch||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|Most laps led|
|Driver||Kyle Busch||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|No. 17||Matt Kenseth||Roush Fenway Racing|
|Television in the United States|
|Announcers||Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip, and Larry McReynolds|
(15.954 million viewers)
For the first time since 1981, the defending race champion driver and team have been split. Ryan Newman, the champion driver, drove for Stewart Haas Racing in the #39 Chevrolet Impala. The team that he won with, Penske Racing, fielded the #12 Dodge Charger with David Stremme behind the wheel.
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, thirty-first, and thirty-sixth respectively. Derrike Cope (1990) and Geoff Bodine (1986), also former winners, failed to qualify.
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.
Qualifying• One round of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series timed qualifying will be held. Each team may run two laps with the fast lap setting the qualifying time. The two fastest qualifiers set starting positions one and two and are the only guaranteed positions, filling the front row for the Daytona 500. • The Gatorade Duels, the 150-mile qualifying races, will determine starting positions for the Daytona 500 beyond the front row. In the event of cancellation, the field will be set according to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rule Book.
Gatorade Duel Assignment • The eligible highest ranked 35 in 2008 car owner points will be assigned to Gatorade Duel races based on their standing in the 2008 final car owner points. Odd-numbered owner points will compete in the first Gatorade Duel; evennumbered owners will compete in the second. The only exception is that the fastest qualifier will start on the pole in the first Gatorade Duel and the second fastest will start on the pole in the second, regardless of 2008 car owner point standings. • Owners who failed to finish in the top 35 of the 2008 car owner points will be assigned to a Gatorade Duel based on qualifying times – the highest qualifying owner to the first Duel; the next to the second and alternating through the remaining entries. Starting positions for the Gatorade Duels are based on qualifying times.
Daytona 500 Lineup • Finishing positions in the Gatorade Duels will determine starting positions in the Daytona 500 once the two fastest qualifiers will start on the front row of the Daytona 500 based on their qualifying times,regardless of their finish in the Duels. Based on their finish in the first Duel, the eligible highest ranked 35 in car owner points plus the two highest finishing non-top 35 teams will be lined up in the odd-number starting positions. Based on their finish in the second Duel, the eligible highest ranked 35 in car owner points plus the two highest finishing non-top 35 teams will be lined up in the even-number starting positions. • The remaining positions will be filled based on qualifying times beginning with the next available position. • The composition of the front row will reduce the above numbers. If there are top-35 teams on the front row, the number of guaranteed starters is reduced accordingly. If there are no top-35 teams on the front row, the number of cars that get in based on time are reduced accordingly. • The 43rd starting position will be assigned to any car owner who has the most recent eligible past NASCAR Sprint Cup champion as long as the past champion competed in the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. If the 43rd position is not used by a past champion, it will be assigned to the next highest qualifying time.
Recap The bottom line – for the 2009 Daytona 500 – is that the top-two qualifiers are in. The remaining top-35 guaranteed starters are in. Four drivers will make the field based on their performance in the duels and the remaining positions will be filled based on qualifying times or being a past champion.
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. However, from there on, Digger would draw much opposition, including sites, forums, and blogs warning FOX about his use.
The Grand Marshal was the Florida Governor Charlie Crist. RCA Records recording artist Gavin DeGraw sang the USA National Anthem, and actor Tom Cruise drove the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro pace car to the start of the race.
During the drivers' meeting, NASCAR announced there would be a competition caution on lap 25 because of overnight rain. Despite threatening weather, the race started at 3:30 p.m., with the green flag at 3:41 p.m., waved by three-time champion Bobby Allison as the "Martin and Martin" front row led the field to the start of the race. Martin Truex, Jr. led the first lap and Mark Martin led the next one before being passed by Kyle Busch. The first caution came out on lap 9 when Aric Almirola got tapped from behind by David Ragan and spun near the entrance to pit road, nearly collecting Travis Kvapil. The race restarted on lap 11, with Busch still leading; Busch would remain there until lap 53, when Dale Earnhardt, Jr. passed him for the lead. With the help of his Busch (his former teammate), Tony Stewart passed Earnhardt, Jr. for the led while entering turn 4. Shortly after, Travis Kvapil smacked the wall twice on lap 55, bringing out the third caution. Earnhardt, Jr. missed his pit stall 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. On lap 72, Ryan Newman was in the pits changing tires under green flag conditions when somehow the car fell off the jack while changing the left-side tires. Newman's crew had to use two jacks to lift the car off the ground and complete the pit stop. On lap 80, Daytona 500 rookie Joey Logano avoided Scott Speed losing control out of turn 4 but made contact with the front of Greg Biffle's car, causing him to crash head-on into the inside retaining wall on the frontstretch, ending his day. Busch won the race off pit road edging ahead of his teammate Denny Hamlin by over half a car length, while Hermie Sadler reported bad weather about 40 minutes away from the track.
Green flag pit stops began on lap 113 when Gordon over tire wear concerns, and his crew changed tires on lap 113, with the rest of the field on lap 119. David Stremme blew a tire on pit road as soon as his teammates Reed Sorenson and Elliott Sadler exited. Sadler wound up in 2nd and Sorenson in 3rd while the entire field had to pit one lap later. Earnhardt, Jr. mistakingly made his second pit stop in Lap 121 by completing his pit stop with his right front tire over the outside boundary line of his pit box, resulting in a one lap penalty.
On lap 124, the race for the beneficiary resulted in the "Big One". This began when Earnhardt, Jr. spun Brian Vickers into traffic toward the end of the backstretch, collecting race dominator Busch and his brother Kurt, Robby Gordon, Jamie McMurray, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Scott Speed, and Earnhardt, Jr.'s teammate Jimmie Johnson. R. Gordon's car slid in front of Earnhardt, Jr. within a couple of feet of contact. Many of Earnhardt Jr.'s fans, the Daytona 500 participants, and the drivers believed that the contact was done intentionally; and many fans (including those of the #88 fans) and drivers (such as Vickers, Ku. and Ky. Busch, R. Gordon, Hamlin, and McMurray gave NASCAR requests and calls to black-flag Earnhardt, Jr. Earnhardt was penalized on two counts by NASCAR; first, he was sent to the tail end of the longest line for overasggressive driving, and the ensuing penalty meant he was not granted the beneficiary as a result. (A driver cannot cause the caution in order to be granted the beneficiary.) Brian Vickers was angry and said when interviewed "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." Both Vickers and Earnhardt, Jr. were a lap down before the wreck occurred, and Earnhardt, Jr. was unaware that he was battling Vickers for the position. 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 Sadler a lap after the action resumed. 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. Some drivers exited their cars while others, including Kenseth, remained in theirs. During the red flag period, asked what happened with Brian Vickers, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. said, "I got a run on him and he (Vickers) saw me coming. I had a big old 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. was unrepentant and said, "Yeah, it was accidental. I didn't want to wreck the field." The drivers and fans did not buy Earnhardt Jr.'s excuse and to this day Vickers, the drivers, and fans do not believe that the crash was accidental. Later that week, Earnhardt Jr. gave a public apology for the incident and decided that he should have thought before he made his move that obviously would have crashed Vickers.
At 6:49 p.m. EST, sixteen minutes after the start of the red flag, NASCAR officials decided to call the race declaring Kenseth as 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 called. "I tell you what, after last year, winning a race means a lot to me," Kenseth later said who was winless in 2008. Harvick, winner of the Bud Shootout, was second. Richard Petty Motorsports drivers A. J. Allmendinger (#44), Sadler (#19), and Reed Sorenson (#43) finished 3rd, 5th, and 9th respectively. Michael Waltrip had the best finishing Toyota in 7th. Stewart was 8th in his first race as a driver and team owner. Truex, Jr. finished 11th, J. Gordon (Gatorade Duel #1 winner) finished 13th, Marcos Ambrose (in his first 500 start) finished 17th, Johnson (the defending Series champion) finished 31st, Speed (the high-finishing rookie) finished 35th, Ryan Newman (the defending 500 winner) finished 39th, Ky. Busch (who led the most laps at 88 and won Gatorade Duel #2) finished 41st because of him being involved in the lap 124 multi-car crash, and Logano (also in his first Daytona 500 start also) finished 43rd.
|1||1||Martin Truex, Jr.||Earnhardt Ganassi Racing||Chevrolet|
|2||5||Mark Martin||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|3||24||Jeff Gordon (W)||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|4||18||Kyle Busch||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota|
|5||14*||Tony Stewart||Stewart-Haas Racing||Chevrolet|
|6||83||Brian Vickers||Red Bull Racing Team||Toyota|
|7||48||Jimmie Johnson (W)||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|8||42||Juan Pablo Montoya||Earnhardt Ganassi Racing||Chevrolet|
|9||20||Joey Logano (R)||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota|
|10||11||Denny Hamlin||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota|
|11||8||Aric Almirola||Earnhardt Ganassi Racing||Chevrolet|
|12||96||Bobby Labonte||Hall of Fame Racing||Ford|
|13||2||Kurt Busch||Penske Championship Racing||Dodge|
|14||88||Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (W)||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|15||9||Kasey Kahne||Richard Petty Motorsports||Dodge|
|16||99||Carl Edwards||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford|
|17||36||Scott Riggs||Tommy Baldwin Racing||Toyota|
|18||41||Jeremy Mayfield||Mayfield Motorsports||Toyota|
|19||98||Paul Menard||Yates Racing||Ford|
|20||44||A. J. Allmendinger||Richard Petty Motorsports||Dodge|
|21||26||Jamie McMurray||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford|
|22||33||Clint Bowyer||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet|
|23||47||Marcos Ambrose||JTG Daugherty Racing||Toyota|
|24||12||David Stremme||Penske Championship Racing||Dodge|
|25||07||Casey Mears||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet|
|26||31||Jeff Burton||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet|
|27||55||Michael Waltrip (W)||Michael Waltrip Racing||Toyota|
|28||00||David Reutimann||Michael Waltrip Racing||Toyota|
|29||77*||Sam Hornish, Jr.||Penske Championship Racing||Dodge|
|30||19||Elliott Sadler||Richard Petty Motorsports||Dodge|
|31||7||Robby Gordon||Robby Gordon Motorsports||Toyota|
|32||29*||Kevin Harvick (W)||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet|
|33||6||David Ragan||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford|
|34||43||Reed Sorenson||Richard Petty Motorsports||Dodge|
|35||16||Greg Biffle||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford|
|36||39*||Ryan Newman (W)||Stewart-Haas Racing||Chevrolet|
|37||34*||John Andretti||Front Row Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|38||82*||Scott Speed (R)||Red Bull Racing Team||Toyota|
|39||17*||Matt Kenseth||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford|
|40||21||Bill Elliott (W)||Wood Brothers Racing||Ford|
|41||28||Travis Kvapil||Yates Racing||Ford|
|42||78||Regan Smith||Furniture Row Racing||Chevrolet|
|43||66||Terry Labonte||Prism Motorsports||Toyota|
|Did not qualify|
|87||Joe Nemechek||NEMCO Motorsports||Toyota|
|08||Boris Said||Carter/Simo Racing||Ford|
|09||Brad Keselowski||Phoenix Racing||Chevrolet|
|27||Kirk Shelmerdine||Kirk Shelmerdine Racing||Toyota|
|71||Mike Wallace||TRG Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|37||Tony Raines||Front Row Motorsports||Dodge|
|73||Mike Garvey||H&S Motorsports||Dodge|
|75||Derrike Cope (W)||Cope/Keller Racing||Dodge|
|23||Mike Skinner||R3 Motorsports||Chevrolet|
|51||Kelly Bires||BlackJack Racing||Dodge|
|46||Carl Long||Carl Long Racing||Dodge|
|64||Geoffrey Bodine (W)||Gunselman Motorsports||Toyota|
|57||Norm Benning||Norm Benning Racing||Chevrolet|
|60||James Hylton||E&M Motorsports||Dodge|
* - NASCAR rules state that if a car, engine, or transmission change is made by the team, that car starts the race in the back of the field. For the Daytona 500, the rule applies to a car if a crash takes place in the Gatorade Duel or in the Friday or Saturday practice. An engine or transmission change is permitted after the Gatorade Duel, so the engine and transmission used in Friday practice must be used in Saturday practice and the race. The penalty for an engine or transmission change applies only if a second engine change is made after the Gatorade Duel once Friday practice begins.
|2||29||Kevin Harvick (W)||Chevrolet||152||0||Running|
|3||44||A. J. Allmendinger||Dodge||152||0||Running|
|7||55||Michael Waltrip (W)||Toyota||152||0||Running|
|11||1||Martin Truex, Jr.||Chevrolet||152||1||Running|
|13||24||Jeff Gordon (W)||Chevrolet||152||14||Running|
|14||42||Juan Pablo Montoya||Chevrolet||152||0||Running|
|17||47||Marcos Ambrose (R)||Toyota||152||0||Running|
|23||21||Bill Elliott (W)||Ford||152||0||Running|
|27||88||Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (W)||Chevrolet||152||1||Running|
|30||8||Aric Almirola (R)||Chevrolet||152||0||Running|
|31||48||Jimmie Johnson (W)||Chevrolet||152||0||Running|
|32||77||Sam Hornish, Jr.||Dodge||151||0||Running|
|35||82||Scott Speed (R)||Toyota||151||0||Running|
|36||39||Ryan Newman (W)||Chevrolet||150||0||Running|
|38||98||Paul Menard||Ford||138||0||Contact BS|
|39||83||Brian Vickers||Toyota||126||0||Contact T2|
|41||18||Kyle Busch||Toyota||123||88||Contact T2|
|43||20||Joey Logano (R)||Toyota||79||0||Contact T4|
- "Weather information for the 2009 Daytona 500". The News Tribune. Archived from the original on 22 June 2013. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
- Gorman, Bill (2009-02-24). "NASCAR Daytona 500 TV Ratings". Zap2it. Retrieved 2011-02-20.
- "Florida governor Crist named Grand Marshal for Daytona 500". Yahoo!. January 26, 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-16.
- "Tom Cruise to drive Daytona 500 pace car". SceneDaily.com. February 13, 2009. Archived from the original on 19 February 2009. Retrieved 16 February 2009.
- "2010 Camaro to pace Daytona 500 field". Birmingham News. February 13, 2009. Archived from the original on 17 February 2009. Retrieved 16 February 2009.
- "Rain brings Daytona 500 to a halt with Matt Kenseth out front". AP. February 16, 2009. Retrieved 18 February 2009.