Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 car won the 2013 Daytona 500 after leading 17 laps Sunday, including the most important of them all. It was his second career win at Daytona.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. finished in second, Mark Martin finished in third place, Brad Keselowski came in fourth and Ryan Newman rounded out the top five.
Danica Patrick ended up in eighth place, the highest finishing spot for any female driver in the event’s history, and led five laps to cap off a very successful event for the second-year star.
Sunday’s race day started off with a spectacular pre-show featuring a performance from the Zac Brown Band. At the start of the race, James Franco gave the command for "Drivers and Danica" to start their engines.
Meanwhile, Erin Andrews dodged a kiss from rapper 50 Cent while looking to interview Patrick on pit row.
Bleacher Report @BleacherReport
50 Cent going in for the kiss on Erin Andrews at the #Daytona500 http://t.co/ApwWAZYmyS2/24/2013, 6:24:54 PM
As the cars took the track and the green flag fell on the field, the outside lane, led by Jeff Gordon and the No. 24 car, took off fast once again. Patrick, the first female pole-sitter in NASCAR history, slid to the outside behind them and abandoned the low line.
Gordon led the first lap of the race.
The Great American Race had its fair share of accidents—as well as several lead changes, a few cautions for debris and plenty of hard racing—including a Lap 33 wreck involving huge stars and serious contenders including Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart, Juan Pablo Montoya, Jamie McMurray and Brad Keselowski.
There was also another crash earlier on Lap 138 between Carl Edwards and Trevor Bayne.
The field used the caution to make a pit stop, but after coming back to the green flag once again, the real history was made. On Lap 90, Patrick and the No. 10 car took the lead and she became the first female in the history of the Daytona 500 to ever lead a lap (h/t NASCAR’s Twitter account):
Danica Patrick leads lap 90 and becomes the first woman to lead a lap in the #DAYTONA500. #NASCAR2/24/2013, 7:54:59 PM
As the race continued, Joe Gibbs Racing stars and serious contenders Matt Kenseth (Lap 150) and Kyle Busch (Lap 154) had catastrophic engine failures (something that plagued Toyota all afternoon) and were forced to the garage early. At one point, three Gibbs cars were running first, second and third.
That’s a bad day for any team, but especially for one as predominant as Gibbs racing.
On Lap 177, Jeff Burton smashed into the wall, bringing out the yellow flag and allowing the entire field to hit pit road. That evened the playing field for the final run toward the checkered flag.
After another caution came out on Lap 191, the field came to the green and finished the race with Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 team stealing the show for the second time in his career.
It was a spectacular finish to another amazing Daytona 500.
NASCAR’s official Twitter account offers a great view from the spotter’s stand at the drop of the green flag:
PHOTO: There's no better view than from the spotter's stand on the roof. #NASCAR #DAYTONA500 http://t.co/KzneQGHKMV2/24/2013, 6:56:29 PM
One of the wrecks took out a race favorite, Carl Edwards, and former 500 winner Trevor Bayne (h/t NASCAR):
PHOTO: A 9-car accident in Turns 1 and 2 takes out Carl Edwards and @tbayne21 #NASCAR http://t.co/k8yPSBdpUV2/24/2013, 8:47:59 PM
Bleacher Report showed Danica Patrick breaking the barrier and becoming the first woman to lead a lap in a Daytona 500:
Bleacher Report @BleacherReport
Danica Patrick becomes the first woman to lead a lap in #Daytona500 history. http://t.co/Vv8q9OZ1792/24/2013, 7:57:27 PM
With the failure of the Toyota Racing Development’s (TRD), the Orange Cone diagnosed the problem (with tongue firmly in cheek):
The Orange Cone @TheOrangeCone
UPDATE: Now hearing TRD engineers believed the Daytona 500 to be 500 KILOMETERS not 500 MILES.2/24/2013, 9:16:57 PM
ESPN brings the fans a photo of eighth-place finisher Patrick, who broke the record for the best finish for a woman at the Daytona 500:
Danica Patrick getting out of car after finishing 8th, best finish EVER by a woman at #Daytona500 http://t.co/p2dUQCj6hp2/24/2013, 9:52:25 PM
Musician and NASCAR fan Darius Rucker congratulated race winner Jimmie Johnson after his huge Daytona 500 win:
Darius Rucker @dariusrucker
Great race. Big ups to @jimmiejohnson. Huge win @daytona5002/24/2013, 9:40:00 PM
Full Daytona 500 Results (via NASCAR.com)
1. Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 - Chevrolet
2. Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 88 - Chevrolet
3. Mark Martin, No. 55 - Toyota
4. Brad Keselowski, No. 2 - Ford
5. Ryan Newman, No. 39 - Chevrolet
6. Greg Biffle, No. 16 - Ford
7. Regan Smith, No. 51 - Chevrolet
8. Danica Patrick, No. 10 - Chevrolet
9. Michael McDowell, No. 98 - Ford
10. J.J. Yeley, No. 36 - Chevrolet
11. Clint Bowyer, No. 15 - Toyota
12. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 17 - Ford
13. Aric Almirola, No. 43 – Ford
14. Denny Hamlin, No. 11 - Toyota
15. Bobby Labonte, No. 47 - Toyota
16. David Reutimann, No. 83 - Toyota
17. Dave Blaney, No. 7 - Chevrolet
18. Marcos Ambrose, No. 9 - Ford
19. Joey Logano, No. 22 - Ford
20. Jeff Gordon, No. 24 - Chevrolet
21. Paul Menard, No. 27 - Chevrolet
22. Michael Waltrip, No. 26 - Toyota
23. Scott Speed, No. 95 - Ford
24. Martin Truex Jr., No. 56 - Toyota
25. Travis Kvapil, No. 93 - Toyota
26. Terry Labonte, No. 32 - Ford
27. Trevor Bayne, No. 21 - Ford
28. Kurt Busch, No. 78 - Chevrolet
29. Casey Mears, No. 13 - Ford
30. Jeff Burton, No. 31 - Chevrolet
31. Austin Dillon, No. 33 - Chevrolet
32. Jamie McMurray, No. 1 - Chevrolet
33. Carl Edwards, No. 99 - Ford
34. Kyle Busch, No. 18 - Toyota
35. David Ragan, No. 34 - Ford
36. Kasey Kahne, No. 5 - Chevrolet
37. Matt Kenseth, No. 20 - Toyota
38. David Gilliland, No. 38 - Ford
39. Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 42 - Chevrolet
40. Josh Wise, No. 35 - Ford
41. Tony Stewart, No. 14 - Chevrolet
42. Kevin Harvick, No. 29 - Chevrolet
43. Joe Nemechek, No. 87 - Toyota