by Cass Waters
A big first for Danica Patrick, but an even bigger second for Jimmie Johnson. Patrick made history up front at the Daytona 500 Sunday, only to see Johnson make a late push ahead of her and reclaim his spot at the top of his sport. It was the second Daytona 500 victory for Johnson, a five-time NASCAR champion who first won “The Great American Race” in 2006.
“There is no other way to start the season than to win the Daytona 500. I’m a very lucky man to have won it twice,” said Johnson, who won in his 400th career start. “I’m very honored to be on that trophy with all the greats that have ever been in our sport.”
Patrick, the first woman to win the pole, also became the first woman to lead the race. She was running third on the last lap, but faded to eighth at the finish and admitted she’ll replay it over in her mind.
“I would imagine pretty much anyone would be kicking themselves about what they coulda, shoulda have done to give themselves an opportunity to win,” she said. “I think that’s what I was feeling today, was uncertainty as to how I was going to accomplish that.”
Patrick was clearly disappointed with her finish, even though she ran inside the top-10 the entire race. When the race was on the line, though, she was schooled by Earnhardt, who made his move for the win. Still, Patrick became the first woman in history to lead laps in the 500 when she passed Michael Waltrip on a restart on Lap 90. She stayed on the point for two laps, then was shuffled back to third. She ended up leading five laps, another groundbreaking moment for Patrick, who in 2005 as a rookie became the first woman to lead the Indianapolis 500.
To be honest, I had no idea that this happened. Since the Oscars and Walking Dead were on my time was more focused on that. Leave your comments about Johnson, Patrick, Oscars, or Walking Dead.