Jimmie Johnson Wins 55th Daytona 500
Jimmie Johnson won the 55th running of the Daytona 500 on Sunday. In a race that was mostly a single-file parade around the top of the race track, Johnson used the bottom lane to take the lead from 2012 champion Brad Keselowski just before a caution came out with nine laps to go. Johnson restarted on the high side and stayed there until the end. He had to fend off a last lap charge from teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. just before the finish though.
Many of the contenders fell out of the race with either mechanical issues or damage from a crash.
Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. all had engine failures. Kenseth led almost half of the race.
Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne, Jamie McMurray and Juan Pablo Montoya were all taken out in an early wreck triggered by Kyle Busch.
Carl Edwards, Austin Dillon, Trevor Bayne and more were involved in another wreck when Keselowski had to slow down and Bayne got into the back of him and turned him sideways. About eight more piled in from there.
Keselowski was involved in both accidents but his crew was able to repair the car and continue on and almost win the race.
The story for much of the race was Danica Patrick. She qualified on the pole, the first woman to do so for the Daytona 500 and in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series as a whole. She ran up front most of the day and even led some laps. She was running third in the late part of the race but fell back when Earnhardt and Mark Martin teamed up to make a move for the win. Patrick finished eighth in her second Daytona 500.
For NASCAR and the new Gen-6 car it is off to Phoenix International Raceway next week where the real season begins.