NASCAR revs up: Earnhardt Jr wins Daytona 500

Dale Earnhardt Jr drove his Chevrolet to victory in a rain-interrupted, crash-marred Daytona 500 on Sunday in the season-opening NASCAR race at Daytona International Speedway. Denny Hamlin was second in a Toyota and Brad Keselowski took third in a Ford, placed ahead of Jeff Gordon in his Chevrolet after a video review by officials following the jam-packed finish.

Earnhardt used a push from his team mate Gordon to win a two-lap shoot-out to the finish line after one of a series of crashes in the race.
"We got a little help from Jeff to get away," said Earnhardt.

It was a marathon day and night at the speedway with the Great American Race completed after a six hour, 21 minute rain delay that came after the 38th lap and was the longest single day interruption in 56 editions of the race.

It was Earnhardt's second Daytona victory, coming 10 years after the 2004 triumph of NASCAR's most popular driver.
 

"Winning this race is the greatest feeling you can feel in this sport," Earnhardt said in an on-track TV interview.
Earnhardt had notched three second-place finishes in the race over the last four years, including the last two.

 

The biggest crash of the race happened three-fourths of the way through, involving 13 cars including the one driven by Danica Patrick, who last year became the only woman to win the pole position for the event.

No drivers were seriously injured.  

Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 DOW Chevrolet, and Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 Smithfield Ford, spin during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. (AFP)

Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 GoDaddy Chevrolet, and Paul Menard, driver of the #27 Peak/Menard's Chevrolet, are involved in an incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. (AFP)

Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Fastenal Ford, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. (AFP)

Michael Annett, driver of the #7 Pilot/Flying J Travel Centers Chevrolet, spins next to Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. (AFP)

Kyle Larson (42) and Marcos Ambrose (9) crash during the NASCAR Daytona 500 Sprint Cup series auto race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach. (AP)

Austin Dillon (3), Kyle Larson (42), Danica Patrick (10), and others crash during the NASCAR Daytona 500 Sprint Cup series auto race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach. (AP)

Daytona Beach, FL, USA; Drivers walk back to their cars for the restart of the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. (REUTERS)

Crew members inspect an engine failure for Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. (AFP)

Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, is involved in an incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. (AFP)

Brian Vickers, driver of the #55 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. (AFP)

Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 GoDaddy Chevrolet, walks away from her car after an incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. (AFP)

Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, spins making contact with Michael Annett, driver of the #7 Pilot/Flying J Travel Centers Chevrolet, and Marcos Ambrose, driver of the #9 Stanley Ford, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. (AFP)

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