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Earnhardt Jnr wins Daytona 500

2014-02-24 09:05

DAYTONA CRASH: Ryan Newman (31), Brian Scott (33), Cole Whitt (26), Justin Allgaier (51), Terry Labonte (32) and Parker Kligerman (30) wreck in a multi-car crash at the Daytona 500. Image: AP

DAYTONA BEACH, Florida - Dale Earnhardt Jnr drove his Chevrolet to victory in a rain-interrupted, crash-marred Daytona 500, during the season-opening Nascar race at the Daytona International Speedway.

Denny Hamlin (Toyota) was second and Brad Keselowski (Ford) third ahead of Jeff Gordon (Chevrolet) after a video review by officials.

VIDEO: 2014 Daytona 500 crash

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. Earnhardt said: "We got a little help from Jeff to get away."

LONGEST INTERRUPTION YET

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.

Earnhardt said: "Winning this race is the greatest feeling you can feel in this sport."

Earnhardt had notched three second-place finishes in the race over the last four years, including the last two: "I didn't know if I'd ever get a chance to feel that again. It feels just as good, if not better, than the first because of how hard we tried year after year after year."

The biggest crash of the race happened three-fourths of the way through, involving 13 cars including the one driven by Danica Patrick, who in 2013 became the only woman to win the pole position for the event.

No drivers were seriously injured.
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