Brierley Hill, West Midlands, United Kingdom (sardnews.org) 3/21/2012 12:00:00 AM - The Daytona 500: It has been described as one of the most fearsome races in motorsport, but for Citizen Watches Ambassador Matt Kenseth the course holds no fear, a fact proved by his recent win at the circuit.
A fan of watches alongside his racing driver credentials, Kenseth ran in a field of forty-three other drivers for the fifty-fourth running of the race. He climbed through the field from his grid position of four, outflanking the winner of last year’s race, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Kenseth’s Roush Fenway Racing teammate Greg Biffle finished in third place.
The victory of Kenseth was somewhat overshadowed by the conditions of the race itself. Originally scheduled to begin Sunday afternoon the race was delayed by more than a day due to high rainfall. Following a drying of the track, the race started in time for US primetime TV, but ended in the early morning hours of Tuesday whilst most of the casual fans were in bed. This denied the driver publicity that would have helped with his contract renewal negotiations with much needed sponsors such as the manufacturer of watches, Citizen.
Currently, Kenseth is without a main sponsor, but still has endorsement deals with the likes of Japanese manufacturer Citizen Watches. For this particular race, the car was decorated with decals for the US electronics retailer Best Buy. Partly sponsored by Citizen Watches in a long term deal, Kenseth previously won the Daytona 500 in 2009.
Besides the rain there were a number of other delays at the circuit including a freak accident when former Williams and McLaren F1 racer Juan Pablo Montoya crashed in to a jet drying system brought into improve the running surface.
The crash sparked a massive fuel fire that stopped the race for two hours as safety workers used laundry detergent to clean up the track.
The Daytona race marks the opening of the NASCAR stock car racing season. The season will continue with races at Phoenix and Las Vegas.