2014 Daytona 500 results and recap: Dale Earnhardt Jr. finally back in the winner's circle

Tom Pennington

Dale Junior snapped a 55-race losing streak on Sunday night, outlasting a six-hour weather delay and a number of caution flags.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. had to sit through a lengthy rain delay before returning to the track to win the 2014 Daytona 500, but for a man that's been waiting for a decade to return to the winner's circle at the historic track, what was another six hours?

Earnhardt outlasted a rainstorm and scourge of wrecks on Sunday to win the Daytona 500 for the first time since 2004. He had finished second in three of the previous four races at Daytona International Speedway, the same track where his father, Dale Earnhardt, Sr., died in an accident in 2001.

"The world is right right now -- Dale Junior just won the Daytona 500," teammate Jeff Gordon told ESPN.

Heavy rain had been in the forecast for days, and the downpour began just 45 minutes into the race -- which was fittingly sponsored by an upcoming movie about Noah's Ark. The track stayed empty for another six hours and 22 minutes before conditions cleared enough to resume. At one point during the delay, a tornado warning was issued, forcing an evacuation of the grandstands.

The wait didn't faze Earnhardt, who led six times for a race-high 54 laps -- all of which came after the rain delay.

Following a wreck with seven laps remaining -- one of four multi-car accidents on the day -- Earnhardt jumped in front of Brad Keselowski on the restart. Denny Hamlin emerged from the pack to challenge him with one lap left, but another accident brought out the caution flag and handed Earnhardt the win.

The first place finish lands him a purse worth just over $1.5 million.

Hamlin and Keselowski finished second and third, respectively. Gordon and Jimmie Johnson rounded out the top five.

While the delay didn't ruffle Earnhardt, it did cause a commotion among fans. Desperate to fill air time, FOX rolled the tape of last year's 500, which way too many people mistook for the live race. Johnson, the winner in 2013, was bombarded on Twitter by misguided congratulations.

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