2009 Daytona 500
|Race 1 of 36 in the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season|
|Date||February 15, 2009|
|Location||Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida|
|Course||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||Martin Truex, Jr.||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|
||Roush Fenway Racing|
|Television in the United States|
|Announcers||Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds|
(15.954 million viewers)
The 2009 Daytona 500, the 51st running of the event, was the first points-paying race to open the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. The race was won by Matt Kenseth making a car numbered 17 winning the Daytona 500 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 500-mile race was held on February 15 at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. The race was called off with 48 laps to go after a severe rainstorm that had been lingering throughout the area hit the track.
The Grand Marshal was the Governor of Florida Charlie Crist, singer Gavin DeGraw sang the National Anthem, and actor Tom Cruise drove the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro pace car to the start of the race.
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 US Army Chevrolet Impala with sponsorship from the U.S. Army. The team that he won with, Penske Racing, fielded the #12 Dodge Charger with David Stremme behind the wheel.
The #12 was without a sponsor, peruse to NASCAR's enforcement of the "Viceroy Rule," which was imposed by former NASCAR series sponsor R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company by prohibiting rival cigarette manufacturers from advertising in series which they sponsor. Under the agreement between Nextel Communications (the predecessor to Sprint) and NASCAR signed in 2003, rival wireless telecommunications companies may not enter the sport; companies that had been involved would be permitted provided no name change or team change took place. The Cellco Partners' (a joint venture of Verizon and Vodafone) purchase of Alltel (which had sponsored Newman from 2000–2008, and the #12 team since 2002) terminates the grandfather clause that allowed the sponsor to remain under the terms of the 2003 Nextel-NASCAR agreement.
(It should be known the rule does not affect Cellco's sponsorship of NASCAR Nationwide Series cars because Nationwide is an insurance company, not a wireless carrier. Accordingly, in 2008, Chase Miller was able to drive a Cellco Partners-sponsored Dodge Charger in that series. However, two rival insurance sponsors, Farm Bureau and GEICO, were tossed by Nationwide's enforcement of the Viceroy Rule.)
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.
Rain had been pounding the track during the pre-race. NASCAR announced there would be a competition caution on lap 25. Bobby Allison waved the green flag as the "Martin and Martin" front row start the race. Martin Truex Jr. led the first lap. Mark Martin led the next lap before being passed by Kyle Busch. The first caution came out on lap 9 when Aric Almirola was tapped from behind by David Ragan and spun near the front of pit road, nearing collecting Travis Kvapil. The race resumed on lap 11, Busch still leading. Busch would remain in the lead until lap 53, when Dale Earnhardt, Jr. passed him for the lead. With the help of his former teammate, Kyle Busch, Tony Stewart passed Earnhardt, Jr entering Turn 4 for the led. 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. 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, 18 year-old Joey Logano avoided Scott Speed losing control out of Turn 4, but made contact with Greg Biffle's front end causing Logano to crash head on into the inside retaining wall on the frontstretch, ending his day. Kyle Busch won the race off pit road edging ahead of teammate Denny Hamlin by over half a car length, while Hermie Sadler reported bad weather about 40 minutes away from the track.
The race reached the halfway mark on lap 101, meaning the race could be called official if it rains. Jeff Gordon pitted under green over tire wear concerns; Jeff's crew changed tires on lap 113. Green flag pit stops ensued on lap 119. David Stremme blew a tire on pit road as soon as teammates Reed Sorenson and Elliott Sadler exited. Sadler wound up in first and Sorenson in second while the entire field had to pit one lap later. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. made his second pit stop mistake in Lap 121 by completing his pit stop with his right front tire over the outside boundary line of his pit box. Earnhardt, Jr. was held for one lap as a penalty.
On lap 124, confusion over the recipient of the "Lucky Dog" free pass resulted in The Big One happening, when Earnhardt spun Brian Vickers into traffic toward the end of the backstretch, collecting Kurt Busch and Kyle Busch, the latter of which dominated the race, Robby Gordon, Jamie McMurray, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Scott Speed, and teammate Jimmie Johnson. Robby Gordon's car slid in front of Earnhardt, Jr. within a couple of feet of contact. Many of Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s fans, the Daytona 500 participants and the drivers believed that the contact was intentional; and many fans including the #88 fans, and drivers such as Vickers, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, Robby Gordon, Denny Hamlin, and Jamie McMurray gave NASCAR requests and calls to black-flag Earnhardt Jr. This request was not granted but Earnhardt Jr. was ordered to restart in the back of the field as a consequence and did not recover from the penalty.
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 multicar wreck occurred, and Junior was unaware that he was battling Vickers for the position. Ironically, no lucky dog was awarded for the caution. 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. Aric 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; Kenseth remained in his car while other drivers stayed in theirs and others exited their cars. During the red flag period, asked what happened with Brian Vickers, Dale Earnhardt, Jr said, "I got a run on him and (Vickers) saw me coming. I had a big ol' 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 Brian Vickers, the drivers and fans do not believe that the crash was accidental. Later that week Dale 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 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 declared. "I tell you what, after last year, winning a race means a lot to me," Kenseth later said who was winless in 2008.
Kevin Harvick, winner of the Bud Shootout, was second. Richard Petty Motorsports drivers A.J. Allmendinger (#44), Elliott Sadler (#19), and Reed Sorenson (#43) finished 3rd, 5th, and 9th respectively. Michael Waltrip had the best finishing Toyota in 7th. Tony Stewart was 8th in his first race as a driver and team owner. Polesitter Martin Truex, Jr. finished in 11th place. Gatorade Duel #1 winner Jeff Gordon finished 13th. Macros Ambrose, in his first 500 start, was in 17th place. Jimmie Johnson, the defending champion, came in 31st place. Scott Speed, the high-finishing rookie, was 35th. Ryan Newman, the defending winner, finished in 39th. Kyle Busch, who led the most laps (88) and was the Gatorade Duel #2 winner, finished in 41st position due to being involved in the multicar crash on lap 124. Joey Logano, in his first Daytona 500 start also, finishes 43rd.
|1||1||Martin Truex, Jr.||Earnhardt Ganassi Racing||Chevrolet||Bass Pro Shops/Tracker|
|2||5||Mark Martin||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||Kelloggs/Carquest|
|3||24||Jeff Gordon||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||Dupont|
|4||18||Kyle Busch||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||M&M's|
|5||14||Tony Stewart*||Stewart-Haas Racing||Chevrolet||Office Depot|
|6||83||Brian Vickers||Red Bull Racing Team||Toyota||Red Bull|
|7||48||Jimmie Johnson||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||Lowe's|
|8||42||Juan Pablo Montoya||Earnhardt Ganassi Racing||Chevrolet||Target|
|9||20||Joey Logano||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||Home Depot|
|10||11||Denny Hamlin||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||Fedex|
|11||8||Aric Almirola||Earnhardt Ganassi Racing||Chevrolet||Guitar Hero World Tour|
|12||96||Bobby Labonte||Hall of Fame Racing||Ford||Ask.com|
|13||2||Kurt Busch||Penske Championship Racing||Dodge||Miller Lite|
|14||88||Dale Earnhardt, Jr.||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||Amp Energy|
|15||9||Kasey Kahne||Richard Petty Motorsports||Dodge||Budweiser|
|16||99||Carl Edwards||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford||Aflac|
|17||36||Scott Riggs||Tommy Baldwin Racing||Toyota||Red Bank Ale & Quail Qutfitters|
|18||41||Jeremy Mayfield||Mayfield Motorsports||Toyota||All Sport|
|19||98||Paul Menard||Yates Racing||Ford||Quaker State/Menards|
|20||44||A.J. Allmendinger||Richard Petty Motorsports||Dodge||Valvoline|
|21||26||Jamie McMurray||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford||Crown Royal|
|22||33||Clint Bowyer||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||Cheerios/Hamburger Helper|
|23||47||Marcos Ambrose||JTG Daugherty Racing||Toyota||Little Debbie/Kingsford/Clorox|
|24||12||David Stremme||Penske Championship Racing||Dodge||Penske Racing|
|25||07||Casey Mears||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||Jack Daniel's|
|26||31||Jeff Burton||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||Caterpillar|
|27||55||Michael Waltrip||Michael Waltrip Racing||Toyota||NAPA|
|28||00||David Reutimann||Michael Waltrip Racing||Toyota||Aaron's|
|29||77||Sam Hornish, Jr.*||Penske Championship Racing||Dodge||Mobil 1|
|30||19||Elliott Sadler||Richard Petty Motorsports||Dodge||Stanley Tools|
|31||7||Robby Gordon||Robby Gordon Motorsports||Toyota||Jim Beam|
|32||29||Kevin Harvick*||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||Shell/Pennzoil|
|33||6||David Ragan||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford||UPS|
|34||43||Reed Sorenson||Richard Petty Motorsports||Dodge||McDonalds|
|35||16||Greg Biffle||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford||3M|
|36||39||Ryan Newman*||Stewart-Haas Racing||Chevrolet||U.S. Army|
|37||34||John Andretti*||Front Row Motorsports||Chevrolet||Window World|
|38||82||Scott Speed*||Red Bull Racing Team||Toyota||Red Bull|
|39||17||Matt Kenseth*||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford||DeWalt Tools|
|40||21||Bill Elliott||Wood Brothers Raciing||Ford||Motorcraft|
|41||28||Travis Kvapil||Yates Racing||Ford||Golden Corral|
|42||78||Regan Smith||Furniture Row Racing||Chevrolet||Furniture Row|
|43||66||Terry Labonte||Prism Motorsports||Toyota||Window World|
* - 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.
Failed to Qualify: #87-Joe Nemechek, #08-Boris Said, #09-Brad Keselowski (R), #27-Kirk Shelmerdine, #71-Mike Wallace, #37-Tony Raines, #73-Mike Garvey (R), #75-Derrike Cope (W), #23-Mike Skinner, #51-Kelly Bires (R), #46-Carl Long (R), #64-Geoffrey Bodine (W), #57-Norm Benning (R), #60-James Hylton(Forced to withdraw before qualifying due to engine problems)
|2||29||Kevin Harvick (W)||Chevrolet||152||0||Running|
|3||44||A.J. Allmendinger (R)||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 2013-06-22. 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.