At the end of an exciting race, Jimmie Johnson proved victorious and became one of a handful of drivers to win the Daytona 500 multiple times.
Jimmie Johnson can’t help but make history. On Sunday he won the Daytona 500 by working his way to the front with 10 laps to go. He managed to become one of the only drivers to win the race they made their 400th start in, as well as one of 10 drivers to win the 500 multiple times.
He was able to navigate a few wrecks throughout the day and hold off a last lap serge from Hendrick teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. to claim the victory.
Jr. went from 4th to 2nd on the last lap with a push from former Hendrick teammate Mark Martin, who finished third, but he just didn’t have enough time to make a move despite getting a strong run to the finish line.
Though it was Johnson’s second trip to the 500’s victory lane, it was the first for his crew chief Chad Knaus, who, when Johnson won in 2006, was serving a suspension to start that season.
The win, his 61st, guarantees that Johnson will have his 12th consecutive season with at least one trip to Victory Lane.
Other Stories from Daytona:
- Danica Patrick made quite a lot of history Sunday; not only did she become the first woman to win the pole for a race and the first woman to lead a lap at the Daytona 500 but she also recorded the best finish ever by a woman at Daytona, coming home 8th. She ran up front all day and held her own despite making just her 10th start in the Sprint Cup level. As the race wound down though, that lack of experience reared its’ head though as she seemed to get lost in the last-lap shuffle for positions. That really was her only mistake for the day but it did prove costly, it’ll be interesting to see her development as the season progresses and if she can get comfortable making more aggressive moves at the end of races to contend for wins.
- A lot of contenders had their days ended prematurely at the hands of accidents and malfunctions. Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick and Kasey Khane among others collected in a 9-car crash on Lap 32. Matt Kenseth, who had the most dominant car of the day, was sent behind the wall on Lap 150 with an apparent engine failure and just two laps later, his Joe Gibbs teammate Kyle Busch suffered the same fate as his engine failed.
- The race marked the debut of the “6th Generation” Sprint Cup Series car, which aims to retain a more showroom and “stock” appearance.
- Over 33 fans were injured during a last-lap crash on Saturday during the Nationwide Series race when Kyle Larson’s car got airborne and crashed through the safety fence, shearing the front end of his car into pieces and sending debris hurtling into the stands. Currently, none of the fans injured are listed in critical condition, though some still remain in various hospitals under observation.
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