Jimmie Johnson Wins Daytona 500; Danica Patrick Finishes 8th
Jimmie Johnson won the Daytona 500 on Sunday, holding off Dale Earnhardt Jr., Mark Martin, Brad Keselowski and Ryan Newman to win the first points race of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. Pole-sitter Danica Patrick finished eighth. Earlier in the race on lap 90, Patrick became the first woman to lead a lap at the Daytona 500.
With two laps left in the race, Johnson led Greg Biffle and Patrick, with Earnhardt in fourth, when the final charge began. Johnson, a five-time Cup Series champion, was able to dash away while Earnhardt made his move past Biffle and Patrick. A late crash in the race was behind the leaders, allowing for NASCAR’s ‘Great American Race’ to finish. It was Johnson’s second Daytona 500 victory. He also won the 2006 race.
Defending Daytona 500 champ Matt Kenseth led more laps than any other driver on Sunday when his car developed a mechanical problem and began smoking on lap 149. He was soon out of the race.
Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick and several other experienced drivers were knocked out of the race in earlier crashes. Stewart returned with 80 laps remaining, but he could only muster 41st-place. Stewart won Saturday’s Drive4COPD 300, which was marred by a final lap accident that injured 33 spectators.
NASCAR’s next Cup Series race is the Subway Fresh Fit 500 on Mar. 3 at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Ariz.