Johnson wins the Daytona 500

by SM Staff On Sun, Feb. 24, 2013

Photo Credit: David Yeazell

Jimmie Johnson won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at the Daytona International Speedway on Sunday.  Johnson, making his 400th career start, held off teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Mark Martin after the final restart with six laps remaining.

Johnson took the outside line, which had been faster for the entire race and it was enough for the 5-time champion to capture his second Daytona 500 win (2006) and his first win of the 2013 season.

“You have to race all day long and fight for track position. And this race car, this Lowe’s Chevrolet, was so good. Chad Knaus and all of Hendrick Motorsports gave me a fast car and I could really stay up front all day long. I had a lot of confidence those final few laps leading the train because I knew just how fast this car was. It’s a big credit for everybody at Hendrick Motorsports.” Johnson said.

Earnhardt Jr. finished second.

“We just had a lot of help from Mark Martin at the end. We were able to lay back until the last lap on the backstretch there to get enough of a run. We got by a couple of them, but I looked up in the mirror off of four and Mark was back there racing those guys and I lost my help. So when we got to Jimmie (Johnson) we didn’t have enough steam.” Earnhardt Jr. said.

“We have a hard time finishing these races, boy, to run one-two man what a day. I’m so proud of Jimmie, Dale what a great move by Dale there at the end.  I’m glad.” team owner Rick Hendrick said.

Martin finished third, Brad Keselowski fourth and Ryan Newman finished fifth.

“The high lane just had all the speed. It doesn’t mean we weren’t trying. It just wouldn’t go down there eon the bottom and it made it real hard to pass. It wasn’t for lack of effort. I would rather make that effort, and I did, but I kept going to the back.” Keselowski said.

Danica Patrick started from the pole but dropped to second place after Jeff Gordon got a better start and was able to pull around Patrick before the first lap was complete.  Patrick ran strong all day long and finished 8th.  Patrick led a total of five laps and became the first woman ever to lead a lap under green at the Daytona 500 and also tied Janet Guthrie’s career mark for a woman in Sprint Cup competition.

“Ran up front all day long and we led a little. We stayed in the top-10 all day pretty much. Had nice pit stops by the GoDaddy crew, the car was fast and it’s always a little frustrating when you come through and your top three on that last lap. I will learn more for next time. I really didn’t feel like I had a great grasp as to ‘how do you go win this race’”. Patrick said.

On lap 33, Kasey Kahne was spun around after contact from behind with Kyle Busch.  Kahne spun sideways into oncoming traffic.  Tony Stewart and Kevin Harvick were also collected and sent to the garage for repairs.

“Oh, it’s crazy. I can’t believe it.  I mean, I wanted to race. I didn’t want to run single-file by the wall. That’s what we were doing and you still got caught in something.” Kahne said.

Carl Edwards’ Daytona Speedweeks bad luck continued.  He was collected in another accident.

“It’s so frustrating. This has not been fun.  My guys, they’re not quitting and are working hard. They’ve already told me they’re ready to go to Phoenix and dominate. We’re not getting held down this year. It doesn’t matter how many cars we wrecked here. We’re fighting to the very end.” Edwards said.

Matt Kenseth led a race-high 86 laps.  While leading the race, Kenseth he had to bring his car to the garage after a vibration was felt and smoke from the front of the car on lap 149.

“I’m not sure if it’s an engine or a transmission — if it’s a transmission we’ll get out, but if it’s an engine then obviously we won’t.  Disappointing end to a great day.” Kenseth said.

Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch also went to the garage with engine problems.

“Just broke an engine for some reason.  Just unfortunate that this whole team has got to go through this stuff.  We got bottled up back in traffic a little bit there.  I hate it that I wrecked the 5 and the rest of those guys that were racing around us.  But, unfortunate for us we broke pieces.” Busch said.

The Sprint Cup Series heads to Phoenix International Raceway next weekend for the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at 3:00 pm est.

Unofficial Race Results
Daytona 500, Daytona Int’l Speedway
Pos. St. No. Driver Make Points
1 9 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 47
2 19 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet 42
3 14 55 Mark Martin Toyota 41
4 15 2 Brad Keselowski Ford 41
5 34 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet 40
6 5 16 Greg Biffle Ford 38
7 40 51 Regan Smith(i) Chevrolet 0
8 1 10 Danica Patrick # Chevrolet 37
9 38 98 Michael McDowell Ford 35
10 41 36 JJ Yeley Chevrolet 34
11 10 15 Clint Bowyer Toyota 34
12 28 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. # Ford 32
13 26 43 Aric Almirola Ford 31
14 35 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota 31
15 23 47 Bobby Labonte Toyota 29
16 42 83 David Reutimann Toyota 28
17 30 7 Dave Blaney Chevrolet 27
18 24 9 Marcos Ambrose Ford 26
19 21 22 Joey Logano Ford 26
20 2 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 25
21 16 27 Paul Menard Chevrolet 24
22 29 26 Michael Waltrip Toyota 23
23 31 95 Scott Speed Ford 22
24 37 56 Martin Truex Jr Toyota 20
25 43 93 Travis Kvapil Toyota 20
26 39 32 Terry Labonte Ford 18
27 33 21 Trevor Bayne(i) Ford 0
28 11 78 Kurt Busch Chevrolet 16
29 17 13 Casey Mears Ford 15
30 18 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet 14
31 8 33 Austin Dillon(i) Chevrolet 0
32 20 1 Jamie McMurray Chevrolet 12
33 36 99 Carl Edwards Ford 11
34 4 18 Kyle Busch Toyota 10
35 22 34 David Ragan Ford 9
36 6 5 Kasey Kahne Chevrolet 8
37 12 20 Matt Kenseth Toyota 9
38 25 38 David Gilliland Ford 6
39 7 42 Juan Pablo Montoya Chevrolet 5
40 32 35 Josh Wise(i) Ford 0
41 13 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet 3
42 3 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 2
43 27 87 Joe Nemechek(i) Toyota 0
** The opinions expressed on this site are not necessarily those of the publisher. All comments other than website related problems need to be directed to the author. (c) **

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