After hours of grueling racing, Jimmie Johnson won the Coke Zero 400. Johnson held off Tony Stewart and Kevin Harvick to secure his fourth win of the season and further extend his Sprint Cup standings lead.
Most importantly, he became the first driver in 31 years to pull off the sweep at Daytona.
Jimmie Johnson is the first driver to sweep Daytona since Bobby Allison in 1982.— Marty Smith (@MartySmithESPN) July 7, 2013
Good luck slowing him down.
Clint Bowyer and Michael Waltrip rounded out the top five. Notable names in the top 10 include Kurt Busch (sixth) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (eighth), with Danica Patrick dropping late to No. 14.
|8.||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||88|
Rest of leaderboard can be found at ESPN.
Jimmy Johnson Extends Lead
Entering the Coke Zero 400, Johnson owned a substantial lead over the likes of Bowyer and Carl Edwards. By winning the event, Johnson not only maintained his edge, but he extended his advantage in the standings.
With 658 points, 49 more than the second-place Bowyer, he is in prime position to reclaim his position atop NASCAR racing.
Johnson has been consistently brilliant in NASCAR races this season. He's simply adding on to his Hall of Fame resume.
Danica Patrick Stumbles Late
Arguably the most polarizing figure in NASCAR is Danica Patrick of the No. 10 Chevrolet. For all of the hot starts she's had, Patrick has experienced quite the steep learning curve when it comes to closing out races.
The Coke Zero 400 was no different.
She was in the top 10 for a majority of the race, appearing to be in prime position to finish with a high position. When the race was all said and done, however, Patrick stumbled late and once again failed to come through in the clutch.
She ended up finishing 14th overall on a day in which she was in prime position to have a much better finish.
This is a troubling decline for Patrick, who has been looking for any form of consistency this season.
Plain and simple, Patrick needs to finish races better than this.
Carl Edwards' Devastating Finish
If there was anyone in the NASCAR Sprint Cup rankings with a chance at making things interesting, it was Carl Edwards.
The Coke Zero 400 may have sealed Edwards' fate.
He put up his second consecutive dud, finishing No. 29 overall at the Daytona event. This all but clinched Edwards' status as a star who will be on the outside looking in when the rankings are all said and done.
He truly couldn't have picked a worse time to cool down.
Edwards remains one of NASCAR's elite drivers, consistently displaying a fair blend of maturity and aggressiveness. Over the past two races, however, Johnson has separated himself from the pack and Edwards has gone into a downward spiral.