Johnson sweeps Daytona with dominating win in 400-mile race|
Daytona Beach, FL (Sports Network) - Jimmie Johnson became the first driver to
score a season-sweep at Daytona International Speedway in 31 years with a
dominating victory in Saturday night's Coke Zero 400.
Johnson, who won the Feb. 24 season-opening Daytona 500, led 94 of 161 laps en
route to victory in the Fourth of July weekend Sprint Cup Series race at this
2.5-mile superspeedway. Bobby Allison was the last driver to win both the
Daytona 500 and the 400-mile event here during the same season, doing so in
"That's amazing," Johnson said. "To do anything that Bobby has done is pretty
Fireball Roberts (1962), Cale Yarborough (1968) and LeeRoy Yarbrough (1969)
also won both races at Daytona in the same season.
Johnson, a five-time Sprint Cup champion, scored his fourth win of the season
and the 64th of his career. It's also his first victory in the 400-mile race
"I don't know if I really made a bad move tonight, so I'm pretty proud of
that," he said.
An accident involving Kasey Kahne, who is Johnson's teammate at Hendrick
Motorsports, setup a two-lap overtime finish. After the final restart, Johnson
pulled away from the pack without any pushing help. Two multi-car crashes
occurred in separate locations during the final lap.
Carl Edwards was caught up in the first wreck in turn 2. NASCAR did not
display the caution flag. Just after Johnson crossed the finish line 0.107
seconds ahead of second-place Tony Stewart, another multi-car accident
happened on the tri-oval, with Danica Patrick getting turned around.
Stewart, who is the owner of Patrick's No. 10 car and winner of last year's
400-mile race at Daytona, was running in fourth for the last restart but
quickly moved into second, right behind Johnson. Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer
and Michael Waltrip had crossed the line third through fifth, respectively,
when the wreck took place on the frontstretch.
"I'm just glad we were ahead of the carnage," Stewart said.
The race ran accident free until lap 99 when Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr.
and Juan Pablo Montoya wrecked on the frontstretch. Truex crashed into the
wall along pit road after he got loose and made contact with Hamlin.
"It was strange and felt like my left-rear tire blew out," Truex said. "It
happened so fast. So I'm not exactly sure if I was in the worst position
possible when the 11 (Hamlin) came up on me. Before he even touched me, I was
turning sideways. It was totally unexpected, because our car had been really
good all night. It never showed any signs of being loose. I think it was just
that situation I was in. It spun the car around."
On lap 128, Marcos Ambrose and David Stremme got together, with Stremme
hitting the wall. A.J. Allmendinger lost control and bumped into Aric Almirola
during that incident.
NASCAR had to stop the race for nine minutes after a six-car wreck happened on
lap 150. Denny Hamlin triggered the accident when he got loose and spun
around. After Hamlin made contact with the wall, Allmendinger plowed into the
side of him, which lifted Hamlin's car slightly off the ground and spun it
around. Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth, who won his fourth race of the season
last weekend at Kentucky, damaged their cars as well.
"I saw the wreck and tried to slow down and miss it, but there just wasn't
much I could do," said Kenseth, who started second and led only one lap early
in the race.
All drivers involved in accidents were medically examined and released from
the track's infield medical care center.
Kahne was running second to Johnson when he had his run-in with Ambrose on the
backstretch. He slammed hard into the inside retaining wall.
"I was following Jimmie a lot throughout the race and felt like I had a really
good car, but the next thing I know I got slammed and shot left, so it was the
end of our night," Kahne said. "It's kind of how these races go. You don't
have a lot of control over some of the things that happen here."
Kurt Busch finished sixth, and Jamie McMurray took the seventh spot. Dale
Earnhardt Jr., Casey Mears and Ryan Newman completed the top-10. Patrick slid
across the finish line in 14th. She started on the pole and finished eighth in
the Daytona 500.
Johnson now holds a 49-point lead over Bowyer, who moved up to second in the
standings. Edwards dropped to third (-71) after finishing as the last car on
the lead lap in 29th.
07/07 00:49:00 ET