The 2012 Daytona 500
The 2012 Daytona 500 was the first stock car race of the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season and the 54th iteration of the event. It was held between February 27–28, 2012 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida, before a crowd of 140,000. The race, extended to 202 laps and 505 miles (813 km) due to a green-white-checker finish, was won by Matt Kenseth driving for Roush Fenway Racing as his first win of the season and his second Daytona 500 victory. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. finished second and Greg Biffle came in third. The race was scheduled for February 26 but heavy rain forced NASCAR officials to delay it until the next day. The race was scheduled to then start at 12:00 PM EST but rain pushed it further back. When it got underway at 7:02 p.m. EST, pole-sitter Carl Edwards was immediately passed by Biffle before the first turn. Biffle maintained this position until he was passed by David Ragan on lap eleven. Denny Hamlin took over the lead after a second caution period and led the race for 57 laps, during which Biffle also led. Matt Kenseth assumed the first place on lap 146 and maintained it until a seventh caution period twelve laps later. The race was stopped for two hours and five minutes after Juan Pablo Montoya hit a jet dryer on lap 160, causing fuel to seep onto the track and catch fire. Kenseth regained the first position at the lap 166 restart, and maintained it during the remaining thirty-four laps to win the race. The race had ten cautions and saw twenty-five lead changes by ten different drivers. The result meant Kenseth led the Drivers' Championship with 47 points, five ahead of Earnhardt, Biffle, and Hamlin. Jeff Burton followed in fifth place on 41 points. Ford led the Manufacturers' Championship with nine points, three ahead of Chevrolet in second. Toyota was third with four, and Dodge was in fourth. The race attracted an average of 13.69 million television viewers, with 36.5 million watching part or all of the race, making it the second most-watched 500 in history.