Motorsport: Matt Kenseth wins drama-filled Daytona race

After rain delays and a fuel fire incident, Matt Kenseth emerged as the Daytona 500 champion, holding off Dale Earnhardt Jr on the final lap to win an incident-packed race under floodlights.

Kenseth, in a Ford, was helped by his Roush Fenway team-mate Greg Biffle, who was third in the NASCAR season opener after slowing Earnhardt’s charge before eventually being passed.

“I have to thank Greg, we worked together really good all day long,” said Kenseth.

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The victory was Kenseth’s second in the race following his 2009 triumph and was the sixth time in the last eight years that the 500 has ended with a green flag restart two laps before the end. Several cars had crashed on the 188th lap, damaging the vehicles of pre-race favourites Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart.

Earnhardt, the 2004 winner, could not find the space to get past Kenseth on the final lap.

The race was postponed from Sunday due to rain and then for a further seven hours on Monday and finished at almost 1am local time. A spectacular fire also delayed proceedings when Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya hit a jet-dryer truck, carrying a fuel tank, causing a large explosion and resulting in a two-hour delay while the course was cleared for the final 40 laps.