Daytona History: Remembering Jack Roush’s First Daytona 500 Victory in 2009
CONCORD, N.C. (Feb. 17, 2016) – Roush Fenway Racing and co-owner Jack Roush captured the organization’s first Daytona 500 victory in the 2009 running of the Great American Race. After starting in a backup car, Matt Kenseth led seven laps in the No. 17 Ford en route to his first victory in the ‘Super Bowl’ of NASCAR.
“I had won 14 different events in road racing at Daytona before I started stock-car racing, so I was used to winning at Daytona. And we’d won the 400 summer race two or three times. But we’d never won the 500,” said Jack Roush.
“I knew it was the biggest race of the year,” added Roush. “There was a lot of pomp and circumstance. I got a ring, a championship 500 ring–that was a surprise. There were more news conferences, more interest in that win than I remember for even the [Cup] championship. You go to the New York banquet, and there’s obviously a lot attention and pomp and circumstance there. But for a single-event victory, that was by far, by a large margin, the most energy, media attention and enthusiasm for the 300 races or so that we’d won in NASCAR competition.”
The No. 17 team started 11th in the first of two duels on Thursday afternoon. After drafting all the way up to third, the car was involved in an accident with eight laps remaining, which forced the team to a backup car for Sunday’s running of the Daytona 500.
The team was required to start the scheduled 200-lap race from the 39th position, the farthest back of any eventual winner at the time. By Lap 50, Kenseth had drafted into the top-five.
With rain clouds moving in, Kenseth took the lead for the first time of the day on Lap 146. An accident on the next lap prompted a caution period. It was then that the skies opened up. Kenseth led the next six laps under caution, before NASCAR called teams down pit road for a red flag due to rain.
When the race was called, Kenseth was declared the winner, giving Roush Fenway its first victory in the biggest race of the season.
“Man, I don’t know,” said Kenseth. “Winning the Daytona 500 is definitely a dream moment. It’s just an unbelievable feeling. I’ve had a lot of great opportunities in my life — from my family getting me in racing.”
“There’s a lot of good people that form the organization that helped make this possible,” said Roush after the win.
Roush Fenway enters the 2016 season opener at Daytona International Speedway with three drivers chasing Daytona 500 victories. Greg Biffle and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., both attempting to win for the first time in the Daytona 500, will pilot the No. 16 KFC Nashville Hot and No. 17 Fastenal Fords, respectively. Trevor Bayne will attempt to win his second Daytona 500, this time behind the wheel of the No. 6 AdvoCare Ford.
In 192 starts at Daytona International Speedway, Roush Fenway has six wins, two of which are Daytona 500 victories. The organization also boasts four poles, 36 top-fives, and 69 top-10s.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will take the green flag in the Great American Race on Sunday, Feb. 21 at 1:00 p.m. ET, airing on FOX. Fans can listen to the broadcast on MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.