On Sunday, Jimmie Johnson won the Daytona 500 just ahead of teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. who made a late charge. Earnhardt’s last lap push gave him second place for the third time in the past four years at the famed event. It was just another second place performance for NASCAR’s most popular racer who is clamoring to return to Victory Lane at the showcase event for the sport.
Earnhardt said it was like a drug giving you a great high since you do not know when or if it will ever take place again. He won the race in 2004 but prior to that victory, he was worried he might try to win it his entire career for his famous dad Dale Sr.
Johnson was able to hold off Earnhardt for his second victory in the Daytona 500. Mark Martin finished third, which was a fantastic finish for a driver, who drives just part time. Danica Patrick, who become the first female driver to sit on the pole for the event, finished eighth. Her eighth place finish was the highest for any female in 55 years at the premier event for NASCAR.
Earnhardt’s race was just one more close but not close enough finish at Daytona. He said he was relieved when he finally won in 2004 but he is more than ready to win it again. Earnhardt, up to the last lap of the race, had a lackluster week and race.
Junior qualified as the 19th fastest, the lowest starting spot for him in 14 years racing the Daytona 500. However, he was confident he could race well because of no longer having to tandem race on the repaved track.
Earnhardt’s chance came on the last lap and it was thanks to Martin. The two crews agreed to team up during the restart following a late yellow flag. It was close as they swerved below Patrick and then past Greg Biffle, but could not reach Johnson in time.