Jimmie Johnson Wins 2013 Daytona 500

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistFebruary 24, 2013

Jimmie Johnson got off to a great start to the 2013 season by winning the Daytona 500

Unlike most sports, NASCAR's biggest event of the year takes place right away, as every driver tries to win this prestigious race.

This year, the five-time Sprint Cup Series champion was able take the checkered flag after starting in the ninth position.

Heading into the race, most of the focus was on Danica Patrick. The female driver turned some heads by winning the pole position during qualifying, and she received plenty of attention leading up to Sunday's event. 

Unfortunately, she was unable to hold onto that spot, and Jeff Gordon ended up taking the lead by the end of the first lap. 

Patrick regained the lead later on Lap 90, as she became the first female ever to lead the Daytona 500 under a green flag. However, it was short-lived, and she finished the race in eighth place.

Still, Patrick should feel proud of this performance, as she remained in the top 10 for almost the entire event. 

A major turning point happened on Lap 33 out of 200. Kyle Busch and Kasey Kahne bumped into each other, and it sent Kahne sideways. 

This led to a buildup that included Juan Pablo Montoya, Tony Stewart, Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick. While Stewart and Harvick avoided injuries, each was forced to the garage area after terrible damage to their respective cars.

ESPN's Marty Smith tweeted a great picture of Stewart's car after the wreck:

Marty Smith @MartySmithESPN

Wrecked #14. http://t.co/pTC5anRMCP

The three-time season champion finished in 41st place and still has yet to win a Daytona 500 title in his career.

As the main event continued, there was also a big wreck that took Carl Edwards out of contention.

Additionally, Matt Kenseth fell back from the lead as his car started smoking and had to go to the garage. He had led for 86 laps before the incident, but last year's champ was unable to stay in front due to car troubles.

In the end, the best finishes were by those that were able to stay on the track. Altogether, there were eight different caution flags. 

The last few laps featured numerous twists, turns and excitement throughout, but only one person was able to leave as the 2013 champ, and that was Johnson

There was a lot of shuffling toward the end, but he managed to take the lead in the last few laps and he survived the late charge by the rest of the field. He was the last of 14 drivers that led at different times throughout the race.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. had a solid performance at the end and finished in second place, while Mark Martin was not far behind in third.

With the win, Johnson will look to come back from a third-place finish in the final Sprint Cup Series standings from a year ago. He wants to get back to his winning ways after two disappointing years.

After this impressive display on Sunday, it would not be surprising to see him compete for a title once again this season. 


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