The 54th running of the Daytona 500 will not soon be forgotten by fans, participants and organizers. What began in smooth fashion with the conclusions of the Budweiser Shootout and the Gatorade Duels one week prior, fell into a virtual cacophony that started on Feb. 26 and ended early in the morning of Feb. 28.
The entire race weekend was almost akin to an opera. Soaring highs were screeched to a halt by depressing lows. Everyone felt the grueling wait as time slipped by but, in the end, a happy ending was reached with Matt Kenseth emerging as the proverbial fat lady who sang.
Here are 15 moments—not including Matt Kenseth singing while adorned with a viking hat—in chronological order that are sure to remembered long after the 2012 season reaches its conclusion.