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Jimmie Johnson wins Daytona 500

autos Updated: Feb 26, 2013 17:18 IST
Shapur Kotwal
Shapur Kotwal
Autocar India
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Jimmie Johnson ended his run of poor Daytona 500 results by holding off Hendrick Chevrolet team-mate Dale Earnhardt Jr to win NASCAR's premier race for the second time.

Johnson was a factor near the front throughout a largely processional event, battling side by side with reigning champion Brad Keselowski's Penske Ford going into the closing stages.

As Keselowski's car, battered from previous incidents, lost ground at a late restart, Roush Fenway driver Greg Biffle and Stewart-Haas' Danica Patrick lined up to challenge Johnson.

Despite predictions that she would swiftly fall back from pole position, Patrick spent much of the race in the top three, becoming the first woman to lead the Daytona 500 along the way.

But on the final lap Patrick and Biffle were both caught out when Earnhardt and Michael Waltrip Racing's Mark Martin came surging down the inside line.

Johnson had just enough of an edge to beat his team-mate by 0.129 seconds, with Earnhardt and Martin completing the top three ahead of Keselowski.

The result was the first time Johnson had finished in the top 25 in the Daytona 500 since his 2006 win.

Patrick ended up eighth, behind Ryan Newman, Biffle and Regan Smith.

Underdogs Michael McDowell (Phil Parsons Racing) and JJ Yeley (Tommy Baldwin Racing) secured big pay days by finishing in the final top 10 spots.

Keselowski's Penske Ford sustained its damage in the two major pile-ups of the first three quarters of the race.

Duel winner Kevin Harvick and three-time champion Tony Stewart were both eliminated in the race's first multi-car crash, collected in a chain reaction after Kyle Busch tapped Kasey Kahne into a spin on lap 33.

Keselowski had a minor role in that tangle, then starred in the second on lap 13, when a touch from Trevor Bayne sent him bouncing over the grass.

While the champion managed to rejoin, 2011 Daytona winner Bayne spun and took out a host of drivers including Carl Edwards and rookie Austin Dillon, who had earlier been a top-three factor.

Toyota filled the top six places heading towards the final stint, only for a string of engine failures to strike its top teams. Matt Kenseth led the most laps on his debut for Joe Gibbs Racing, but had to park just before the same fate befell team-mate Busch.

Waltrip driver Martin Truex Jr's Toyota also wilted while in the top three late on.

Clint Bowyer and Denny Hamlin finished 11th and 14th having earlier fought for the lead.

Jeff Gordon got around front row partner Patrick to lead at the start and stayed there until the first pitstops.

But he dropped back thereafter as he had to nurse an overheating Chevrolet, and was only 20th at the flag.

Results - 200 laps:Pos Driver       Team/Car             Time/Gap 1. Jimmie Johnson   Hendrick Chevrolet      3h10m14.000s 2. Dale Earnhardt Jr  Hendrick Chevrolet        + 0.129s 3. Mark Martin     Waltrip Toyota          + 0.255s 4. Brad Keselowski   Penske Ford           + 0.359s 5. Ryan Newman     Stewart-Haas Chevrolet      + 0.477s 6. Greg Biffle     Roush Fenway Ford        + 0.524s 7. Regan Smith     Phoenix Chevrolet        + 0.626s 8. Danica Patrick   Stewart-Haas Chevrolet      + 0.658s 9. Michael McDowell  Parsons Ford           + 0.691s
10. JJ Yeley      Baldwin Chevrolet        + 0.731s
11. Clint Bowyer    Waltrip Toyota          + 0.827s
12. Ricky Stenhouse Jr Roush Fenway Ford        + 1.176s
13. Aric Almirola    Petty Ford            + 1.198s
14. Denny Hamlin    Gibbs Toyota           + 1.279s
15. Bobby Labonte    JTG Daugherty Toyota       + 1.542s
16. David Reutimann   BK Toyota            + 2.273s
17. Dave Blaney     Baldwin Chevrolet        + 5.306s
18. Marcos Ambrose   Petty Ford            + 8.581s
19. Joey Logano     Penske Ford           + 9.266s
20. Jeff Gordon     Hendrick Chevrolet       + 11.216s
21. Paul Menard     Childress Chevrolet       + 18.220s
22. Michael Waltrip   Swan Toyota           + 19.788s
23. Scott Speed     Leavine Ford          + 20.714s
24. Martin Truex Jr   Waltrip Toyota         + 24.753s
25. Travis Kvapil    BK Toyota             + 1 lap
26. Terry Labonte    FAS Lane Ford           + 1 lap
27. Trevor Bayne    Wood Brothers Ford        + 2 laps
28. Kurt Busch     Furniture Row Chevrolet     + 2 laps
29. Casey Mears     Germain Ford          + 18 laps
30. Jeff Burton     Childress Chevrolet       + 24 laps*
31. Austin Dillon    Childress Chevrolet       + 24 laps
32. Jamie McMurray   Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet   + 38 laps
33. Carl Edwards    Roush Fenway Ford        + 40 laps * Not running at chequered flagRetirements:    Kyle Busch     Gibbs Toyota           151 laps   David Ragan     Front Row Ford          150 laps   Kasey Kahne     Hendrick Chevrolet        150 laps**   Matt Kenseth    Gibbs Toyota           149 laps   David Gilliland   Front Row Ford          144 laps   Juan Pablo Montoya Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet   144 laps**   Josh Wise      Front Row Ford          137 laps   Tony Stewart    Stewart-Haas Chevrolet      118 laps**   Kevin Harvick    Childress Chevrolet        47 laps   Joe Nemechek    NEMCO Toyota           42 laps ** Running again at chequered flag