Kevin Harvick won the most exciting finish in the history of the Daytona 500 on Sunday by literally inching out geriatric Mark Martin for the win.
Six years to the day after Dale Earnhardt was killed in a final-lap crash at Daytona, the man who replaced him, Harvick, beat Martin to the line by .02 seconds in a green-white-checkered finish and in doing so won his second race at the 2.5-mile superspeedway in two days. Harvick notched his first Daytona triumph in Saturday’s Orbitz 300 Busch Series race.
Harvick is the driver who replaced Dale Earnhardt with Richard Childress Racing after his passing. So it was a fitting win that he won six years to the date of his death.
Mark Martin was passive, thinking that NASCAR would throw the yellow flag, which cost him the win at Daytona.
“I sorry I let everybody down,” said a disconsolate Martin. “I was ahead when they started wrecking behind us. If they throw the caution, I win the race. It was in our fingers, and they waited and waited. I didn’t have any pushers behind me, and Kevin had the preferred position.”The final two-lap dash came after NASCAR red-flagged the race for 11 minutes after Dale Earnhardt Jr., Martin Truex Jr., Jamie McMurray and front-row starter Ricky Rudd wrecked on the backstretch.
Top 10 Finishers
• Kevin Harvick #29• Mark Martin #01• Jeff Burton #31• Mike Wallace #109• David Ragan #6• Elliot Sadler #19• Kasey Kahne #9• David Gilliland #38• Joe Nemecheck #13• David Stremme #40