Even as the Nationwide Series race last Saturday was dampened by a pileup that hurt 30 fans and prompted 14 people to need medical attention at the nearby area hospitals, the officials and staff of the Daytona 500 worked quickly to be ready for the race. The Sprint Cup-spec Chevrolet SS sixth-gen race car driven by Jimmie Johnson made its track debut at this race and we can say it was one lucky day as he also won the race.
Another highlight was the participation of Danica Patrick. Of the top 10 spots, six went to the Chevrolet SS. Meanwhile, Ford took two spots while Toyota and Dodge each got one spot. Johnson’s win for this year is particularly interesting since he was only able to finish one lap of the race last year.
Tony Stewart, the winner of the Nationwide Series race, also joined the Daytona 500 where he struck out in a nine-car pileup on Lap 33 that also took out Casey Kahne and Kevin Harvick. Even when season points leader Brad Keselowski was a part of the accident, he still did well enough to get fourth place.
Eighth place went to Danica Patrick – the highest rank reached by a female at the Daytona 500. It’s also the second-best finish for a female in NASCAR history. The record is still held by Janet Guthrie who placed sixth at the Volunteer 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway in 1977. Patrick was able to qualify for the pole position at the Daytona 500 this year.