Daytona 500Sports Monday, February 25th, 2013
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) _ The start of Sunday’s Daytona 500 belonged to Danica
Patrick, but the checkered flag went to Jimmie Johnson.
Johnson snatched the lead from defending NASCAR champion Brad Keselowski on the
final restart and went on to win his second Daytona 500. The five-time Sprint
Cup champion wasn’t really challenged over the final six laps. Dale Earnhardt
Jr., the 2004 Daytona 500 winner, finished second for the third time in the last
four season-opening races.
Mark Martin was third, followed by Keselowski.
Patrick began the race as the first female pole-sitter and became the first
woman to lead laps in the season-opening Cup event. She was in front for five
laps along the way and sat third on the last lap before getting shuffled back to
an eighth-place finish. It’s the best showing by a woman in the history of the
Great American Race.
Defending champ Matt Kenseth had led more laps than anyone when his car began
smoking on lap 149. He headed to pit road and it didn’t take long for the crew
to push him behind the wall, ruining any hopes of becoming the first
back-to-back winner since Sterling Marlin in 1994-95.
There were several crashes during the race but none approached the magnitude of
the wreck that injured more than two dozen fans a day earlier in a second-tier
race on the same track.
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