Matt Kenseth celebrates his win atop his number 17 Ford during the rain delayed NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 race at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida, Feb. 27, 2012. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes

After fire and rain brought chaos to the 54th running of the Daytona 500 at the Daytona International Speedway, it was Matt Kenseth who edged ahead of other contenders to win the 2012 Daytona 500 on Tuesday.

Kenseth drove to victory, holding off a last-lap charge by Dale Earnhardt Jr., in the most bizarre Daytona 500 in the history. Greg Biffle finished third, followed by Denny Hamlin and Jeff Burton.

It was for the first time that the race got postponed by rain in its 54-year history. It was scheduled to start on Sunday afternoon, was moved to Monday night, and it finally finished on Tuesday.

The race was initially planned to restart at noon Monday, but due to continuous rain, officials were forced to hold it off until 7 p.m.

However, Fox stayed with its plans to broadcast the race, making it the first ever Daytona 500 to be run on primetime national TV on a weeknight.

We had a great horsepower, pretty unbelievable speed and it just came down to whoever was in the front at the end, USA Today quoted Kenseth as saying. They enjoyed their day more because they couldn't hear me on the radio often.

On lap 160 of a scheduled 200, it was Journeyman driver Dave Blaney who was leading. But then the race was stopped when a problem with Juan Pablo Montoya's Chevrolet sent him sliding into a safety truck with 200 gallons of jet kerosene.

The collision was followed by an explosion, and the race was stopped for more than two hours for repairs before NASCAR red-flagged the race with 40 laps remaining.

About the time you think you've seen about everything, you see something like this, the Daily Mail quoted NASCAR president Mike Helton as saying. I think we, like everybody else, would like to see this race finished. This is within reason, and we think we can do that within reason.

We've waited this long. Another 30 minutes is worth trying to finish the 40 laps, Helton added.

Kenseth, the ninth driver to win multiple Daytona 500s, faced some technical issues that occurred in his race-winning car throughout the contest.

We had a lot of problems and almost ended up a lap down, Kenseth told SI.com. I had my radio break and my [tachometer] break and we pushed all the water out and had to come in and put water in it. These guys did a great job. They never panicked and I think they enjoyed their day more because they couldn't hear me on the radio with my radio problems. ... I have to thank this whole Best Buy team.

Kenseth won his first Daytona 500 in 2009. He also won the second Gatorade Duel at Daytona last Thursday.

Kenseth's Tuesday's victory was reportedly worth $1,589,397.

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Matt Kenseth takes the checkered flag to win the rain delayed NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 race at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida, February 27, 2012. REUTERS/Chris Graythen/Pool


Flames erupt from a jet dryer after it was hit by Juan Pablo Montoya of Colombia in his number 42 Chevrolet during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 54th Daytona 500 race at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida, February 27, 2012. REUTERS/Pierre Ducharme


Firefighters battle flames which erupted from a jet dryer after it was hit by Juan Pablo Montoya of Colombia in his number 42 Chevrolet during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 54th Daytona 500 race at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida, February 27, 2012. REUTERS/Pierre Ducharme