Monday, February 25, 2013

Johnson Wins Second Daytona 500

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.—The contenders to win Sunday’s Daytona 500 were many, and they came and went.

Kevin Harvick, Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth were all prerace favorites. Three of them (Harvick, Gordon and Kenseth) had won NASCAR’s biggest before and the other two always have cars and the talent to win.

But one by one, for various reasons, they each fell by the wayside on Sunday.

Then there were new, more surprising contenders to emerge. Greg Biffle, who had finished second twice during Speedweeks. Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski, who rumbled to the front with a beaten and battered car. Denny Hamlin, who was still in the mix despite losing his teammates (Kenseth and Busch) and drafting partners. And 54-year-old Mark Martin, who swooped into the picture almost in time to steal his first Daytona 500 trophy.

Even trailblazer Danica Patrick, who shocked and thrilled the Daytona crowd by starting on the pole and staying at the front, had a chance to win on the very last lap.

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