DAYTONA BEACH —
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – About a month and a half after winning the 54th annual Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, Matt Kenseth was finally able to reunite with his winning car and celebrate his historic victory with race fans during the Champion’s Luncheon at Daytona International Speedway on Wednesday afternoon.
“It’s pretty cool to see (the car) sitting there with all the confetti on it, just like it was sitting in Victory Lane, and seeing the fans lined up out there,” said Kenseth, who was joined by his owner Jack Roush and crew chief Jimmy Fennig. “It’s unusual to celebrate today, but it was kind of an unusual race so I might as well just keep that going.”
For the first time in history, rain postponed the start of this year’s Daytona 500 as well as the traditional day-after Champion’s Breakfast. The “Great American Race” was rescheduled for Monday night, Feb. 27 and a great crowd returned to witness Kenseth hold off Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Greg Biffle to capture his second career Daytona 500 triumph.
During the Champion’s Luncheon, Kenseth, Roush and Fennig took part in a fan forum, signed autographs and participated in media interviews. Kenseth also joined Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III in unveiling the logo for the 2013 Daytona 500 scheduled for February 24, 2013.
“It’s always good when you see the fans enthused and show up to these events especially a couple months later and on a Wednesday around lunch time,” Kenseth said. “It’s pretty neat.”
Winning the 2012 Daytona 500 has given the No. 17 Best Buy Ford team some early-season momentum with Kenseth sitting at fourth in points with three top-five finishes.
“You work all winter for the Daytona 500,” Kenseth said. “I almost look at it like a separate season. You’re down here for a week and a half – or longer this year because we raced on a Monday night – and then you take off and go race for the next nine months and try to get ready to hopefully make a Chase and make a run for a championship. There’s a lot that goes in to that and (a Daytona 500 win) does give the guys a lot of confidence and a boost.”
Roush Fenway Racing enjoyed a successful Speedweeks 2012. In addition to winning the Daytona 500 for a second time in team history, RFR drivers Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle swept the front row in Daytona 500 Qualifying and Kenseth won a Gatorade Duel qualifying race.
“The way that all the cars ran at Daytona gave us confidence that the momentum we had going from the end of 2011 – we’re able to maintain that and haven’t lost it as we’ve started 2012,” Roush said. “It was one of the best Daytona weekends we’ve ever had.”
The confetti-covered No. 17 Best Buy Ford will remain on display at Gatorade Victory Lane inside the Daytona International Speedway Tours and Ticket Office and will be returned to the team prior to the 2013 Daytona 500.
“Anytime you get a win, especially here at Daytona, is special,” Kenseth said. “Obviously if you’re going to pick one, you’re going to pick the 500 every time.”
The stars of NASCAR return to Daytona International Speedway on July 6-7, 2012. Tickets to the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, featuring a special pre-race concert by the multi-platinum, Grammy-winning group Train, and the Subway Jalapeno 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race are available by calling 1-800-PITSHOP or online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com.
Fans can also stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter (www.twitter.com/disupdates) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/DaytonaInternationalSpeedway) for all the latest news all season long.