Iracingone Rewind:/I Daytona

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - A look back at Jimmie Johnson's first Daytona 500 victory including news, notes and observations by RacingOne's own Pete Pistone and Jeff Wackerlin.

Inside Line
Jimmie Johnson held off the field in a green-white-checkered finish to win the 48th edition of the Daytona 500, his first career win in the race and team owner Rick Hendrick's sixth.

Keys to Victory Lane
Johnson got a great restart on the race's overtime start and was able to pull ahead of the pack in the two lap shootout.

Zero to Hero
Clint Bowyer started in the 37th position but the Richard Childress Racing rookie moved his Jack Daniels Chevrolet slowly but surely to the front of the field and finished sixth in his first career Daytona 500. Honorary mention to Brian Vickers, who came from the 35th starting spot and led the race for eleven laps, eventually finishing seventh.

Hero to Zero
Carl Edwards started fifth but the sophomore driver ran over the front of Kyle Petty's car in a lap 80 incident, and finished dead last in the rundown.

Notables
  • Kenny Schrader, in his first start for the Wood Brothers, came home an impressive ninth.
  • Robby Gordon, who failed to qualify for last year's race, bounced back with a 13th-place finish in 2006.
  • With owners Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach on hand, Hall of Fame Racing driver Terry Labonte debuted the team's new Chevy with a 17th-place run.

    Rookie of the Race
    Bowyer bested the seven rookies in the field with a sixth-place finish. It was the ninth time a Raybestos Rookie has posted a top 10 in the Daytona 500 since 1975. Martin Truex Jr. was the second highest finishing rookie in 16th with Brent Sherman putting in a respectable 21st-place finish in his first start in the No. 49 Dodge. J.J. Yeley finished last among the group after he was involved in the Lap 79 six-car incident.

    Pit Stops
  • Jimmie Johnson captured his 19th career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series win in his 148th start and first at Daytona International Speedway, and first at a restrictor-plate track. The win was also his seventh top 10 in nine starts at DIS.
  • Johnson won the 141st race - 10th and second consecutive at Daytona - for car owner Rick Hendrick.
  • Johnson became the 40th driver to win a race from the ninth starting position.
  • Johnson led four times for 24 laps, including the final 16.
  • The last time a Daytona 500 winner went on to win the championship was when Johnson's teammate Jeff Gordon won the 1997 Daytona 500.
  • Chevrolet has now won the last four Daytona 500's dating back to Michael Waltrip's 2003 victory.
  • This was Chevrolet's 574th Cup Series win.
  • Casey Mears (second) posted his first top-10 finish in his seventh start at Daytona.
  • Ryan Newman third-place finish was his second top 10 and first top five since finishing seventh in his first race in 2002.
  • Elliott Sadler (fourth) posted his first top-five finish - third overall - in 15 starts since finishing second in the 2002 Daytona 500.
  • Tony Stewart's fifth-place finish was his fifth consecutive top 10 - eighth overall - in 15 starts at Daytona.
  • Clint Bowyer captured his first career NEXTEL Cup top 10 in just his second career start with a sixth-place finish.
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. (eighth) has now finished eighth or better at Daytona since the 2003 Pepsi 400. It was his ninth top 10 in 13 starts.
  • Earnhardt Jr. led the most laps with 32.
  • Ken Schrader (ninth) posted his 22nd top-10 finish in his first start with the No. 21 Woods Brothers team.
  • Dale Jarrett's 10th-place finish was his 17th overall at Daytona.
  • Polesitter Jeff Burton, who finished 32nd, posted the fastest lap of the race on lap 4 with a speed of 189.426 mph.
  • The 200-lap race saw 32 lead changes among 18 drivers and an average speed of 142.734 mph.
  • 11 caution flags were thrown for 39 laps.
  • The race lasted 3 hours, 33 minutes, 26 seconds under overcast skies with a light mist in the air.

    Lug Nuts
  • You had a feeling that all the talk about a "kinder, gentler" Tony Stewart in 2005 was going to go away this year. Just didn't think it would happen in the first week of the season.
  • Shout out to Kirk Shelmerdine. After all the talk about the underdog finally reaching his dream of making the Daytona 500, he didn't take the easy way out and sell his ride to the highest bidder. And he finished 20th on Sunday for a $272,008 payday.
  • Kyle Busch may as well drive the Target car with the Bullseye that's on his back.
  • Was there a race during this year's "Speedweeks" that didn't end with a green-white-checkered finish or under caution?
  • Daytona may have to rethink its "celebrities" for 2007. During the parade of stars through the media center this morning, topics included comments regarding alcohol abuse by fans, running from "dope dealers" and slams on Asian fans. The PC police were red-faced.
  • The race finally took the green flag at 2:45 p.m. after the pre-event festivities. Get used to it fans, next year there's talk that FOX has asked for a "Super Bowl-like" start time in the 5 p.m. (ET) neighborhood.

    Scanner Talk
    "They better penalize that frickin Stewart or I'm gonna blow a gasket." - Matt Kenseth after Tony Stewart took him out.

    "This engine is like an old man. It wakes up for a while then goes back to sleep." -Dale Earnhardt Jr.

    Garage Talk
    "This is my last Daytona 500. I plan to be on the couch with a remote control watching it next year." -Mark Martin

    "We had two good cars and got in two wrecks that weren’t our fault. Both wrecks were caused by experienced drivers, so you can’t blame a bunch of rookies." -Kyle Petty

    "Kyle Busch, he’s the one guy that is probably going to hurt somebody out here, he is all over the place. He’s what we like to call a ‘dart with no feathers.’" -Tony Stewart

    "Kurt (Busch) and I had a great run all day. It was just unfortunate for him. We did a heck of a job working together. It’s the best two Penske cars have ever looked on a racetrack together." -Ryan Newman on racing with his new teammate.

    "I don't know how he's (Jeff Green) blaming me because I was on the bumper of the car in front of me and just hit him. Jeff was coming up. I don't know if he was trying to get air on that or what and he touched the left-front of my car. He's got to know somebody else is there, too." -Dale Jarrett on Jeff Green blaming him for the Lap 79 incident.

    "I need to apologize to Kurt. I got into him. That was 100 percent my fault." -Jamie McMurray on the lap 188 accident on the backstretch.

    "I'll tell everybody this for the rest of my life." -Darian Grubb, Substitute Crew Chief for the No. 48

    RacingOne Rating
    On a scale of one to ten cans of frozen Florida orange juice (man it was c-o-l-d!), we'll give Sunday's 48th running of "The Great American Race" a solid eight. Lots of drama, controversy, high emotions and side-by-side racing. Best of all, no "Big One" to mar the day and an example that restrictor plate racing can provide excitement without carnage. The Tony Stewart saga will no doubt grab the headlines this week as will the fate of Chad Knaus, who still faces a stiff penalty from NASCAR. But Jimmie Johnson deserves credit for driving a great race to win NASCAR's biggest event. Next a day to travel home and regroup before heading to California for race number two of the 2006 season.
    
            
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    Monster Energy NASCAR Cup, 2006

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