Throughout the 51 years which the Great American Race has been run, there have been five drivers who have pulled off the incredible feat of winning the Daytona 500 and the NASCAR Cup Series Championship during the same season.
did it in the 500's inaugural year of 1959, "the King" accomplished it an astonishing four times (1964, '71, '74 and '79) throughout his illustrious career, did it in 1974 and most recently the modern day ruler, pulled it off in 2006. Now will embark on becoming just the sixth man to place his name on such a short, prestigious list.
After starting near the back of the pack (39th), due to racing in a backup car after wrecking his main ride during qualifying, last Thursday (February 12), Kenseth pulled off a miraculous effort to claim the checkered flag at the conclusion of this rain-shortened spectacular. Throughout the race Kenseth led just one single lap, number 152, which consequently was the final one that officials would allow the drivers to complete before stopping the race due to the increasing precipitation, both in the skies and on the track; then following a 20-minute delay, the race was finally called once it was determined that the rain would not let up throughout the evening.
Sure he got help from Mother Nature; yeah he received a lot of assistance from. and acting like a couple of immature, sore losers, but he got it done and had the lead when it mattered most. Do we complain when complain when a baseball team wins a game after being ahead after 5 innings have been completed and the rain takes over? Not at all it's all a part of the game and in NASCAR it's all a part of the race.
Kenseth won fair and square, it isn't as if he had the ability to open the skies up and make it rain in a different fashion of which one Adam "Pacman" Jones is accustomed to. He just went out there and raced a very hard race, came up a little lucky and proved once again that he is tremendously talented.
Matt Kenseth set history at the 2009 Daytona 500, coming back from 39th to win the race, previously in 2007,rallied back from a 34th starting position to win the Great American Race.
With the "Big One" in pocket now can Matt Kenseth find a way to dominate the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this season, wrestle the title away from the reigning three-time king Jimmie Johnson and win his second Cup Series Championship?
That is the biggest question for Kenseth, the entire #17 Dewalt Team and Rousch/Fenway Racing going forward throughout the seven month-marathon season that is the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series year. After last season's 11th place finish in the final standings, Kenseth needed to get off to a blazing start to ignite his '09 campaign, and what a better way to that than to win this race, in this fashion. Adding more fire to the fuel that could be Matt Kenseth's 2009 season is that the victory snapped his longest winless streak, 36, of his career. These are all crucial ingredients to him being able to transform everything into a Cup Series title this year.
Maybe I'm just a sucker for feel good stories and things of that nature, but if it happens remember who gave the possibility of it happening to you first.