"Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you can feel in this sport, other than winning the championship," said Earnhardt, whose last win in NASCAR's signature event was 10 years ago. "I didn't know if I would ever get the chance to feel this again."
The race was relatively clean until a 13 car wreck on lap 145 that started when Kevin Harvick and Brian Scott made contact, triggering a chain reaction off turn 4. The driver who took the heaviest impact was Danica Patrick, whose No. 10 Chevrolet turned hard into a section of the wall uncovered by a SAFER barrier.
"I'm just upset the GoDaddy car felt really good and was the best we had in Speedweeks," she said. "I felt everything was going pretty well. It's just upsetting, a culmination of sitting around all day. It's a bummer, but that's the excitement of speedway racing that anything can happen. It's unfortunate I was on the short end of the accident, but that's the type of thing that happens."
Earnhardt fended off a challenge by Keselowski on the final restart and got drafting help from Hendrick Motorsports teammate Gordon to protect the lead.
as Earnhardt's crew chief before moving to a TV analyst role next year. "I love you."
"I love you, man," responded Steve Letarte, who is entering his final season Nike Air Max 90 Id Women's
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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the Daytona 500, ending a 57 race winless streak in the Sprint Cup Series and becoming an instant championship contender in NASCAR's premier series.
Aric Almirola, also involved in the wreck, said the intensity increased as the race progressed with the threat of rain lurking that could shorten the race early.
Though he hadn't won at Daytona since 2004, he'd finished runner up in three of the past four years at the season opener.
Said Michael Waltrip: "The cars are grippy. People are crazy. They like to go. There are a lot of lanes, and people are trying to use every one of them. It's a great race for the fans."
DRAFT MASTER: Earnhardt has positive outlook at Daytona
"Hell, yeah!" Earnhardt radioed his team as his No. 88 Chevrolet crossed the finish ahead of Denny Hamlin and Jeff Gordon. "I'm going to burn this down. Unbelievable!"
"I'd like to tell my fans that support us that we pretty much (are) in the Chase," the 10 time most popular driver said. "You ain't got to worry about that! We can get that off our chests."
It was Earnhardt's second victory in the Daytona 500 and his 20th in the Cup circuit.
Patrick, who led the Daytona 500 for the second consecutive year (pacing laps 85 86), was unhurt in the incident but was disappointed in the outcome.
Hamlin had problems with his radio, and Busch got penalized with a pass through penalty for leaving his pit stall with an air gun attached. Coupled with an earlier pit miscue, Red Nike Air Max 90 Womens it was another Nike Air Max 90 Fashion Men
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Tony Stewart's bid for a storybook ending to his comeback story ended in another Daytona 500 disappointment. Stewart, who was returning after a six month layoff because of a broken right leg, began experiencing engine and fuel pressure problems shortly after the race's midpoint.
IN DEPTH: 12 Questions with Dale Earnhardt Jr.
RECAP: All the action as it happened
tough break for JGR, which hasn't won the Daytona 500 in 21 years.
Dale Earnhardt Jr
"This is amazing. I can't believe this is happening. I'll never take this for granted, man. This doesn't happen twice, let alone once. Just real thankful."
Earnhardt led the final 18 laps in winning the Great American Race for the second time, pulling away on a restart with two laps remaining and hanging on as the race ended under caution nearly 11 hours after it began because of a rain delay of more than six hours.
Under NASCAR's new Chase for the Sprint Cup format, any race winner qualifies for the season ending 10 race playoff, which also will feature elimination rounds and a winner take all season finale among Air Max 90 Red And Blue
Making the title run was a relief for Earnhardt, who hadn't won since June 2012 and had endured a four year winless skid prior to that.
DAYTONA BEACH, FL FEBRUARY 23: Austin Dillon, driver of the 3 DOW Chevrolet, and Matt Kenseth, driver of the 20 Dollar General Toyota, lead the field to the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 23, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. Pepper Toyota, Michael Annett, driver of the 7 Pilot/Flying J Travel Centers Chevrolet, and Josh Wise, driver of the 98 Curb Records Ford, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 23, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. Tilton, Getty Images" (Photo: Jared C. Tilton, Getty Images)
"It's been a lot more chaotic for sure," he said. "The track has a lot more grip, so people are taking a lot more risks. The cars drive a lot better at night."
Denny Hamlin finished second, followed by Jeff Gordon, Brad Keselowski, and Jimmie Johnson.
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