Johnson Wins Season Opener...Patrick Makes History 2/25/13
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Jimmie Johnson's car was just too much for the rest of the field at the end of the day and the five-time NASCAR champion sprinted to his second Daytona 500 victory.
The historic season opener began with Danica Patrick as the first female pole-sitter in a Sprint Cup race. She became the first woman in the series to lead a lap but ended up in eighth place. That's the best ever for a woman in The Great American Race.
Johnson snatched the lead from defending NASCAR champion Brad Keselowski on the final restart and 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.
Defending champ Matt Kenseth had led more laps than anyone before falling out when his car began smoking on lap 149. That ended 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 during Saturday's Nationwide race.