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February 19, 2013,

Jimmie Johnson wins the Great American Race; Patrick makes (more) history

The Generation-6 car testing is over. The Sprint Unlimited has been run (congratulations, Kevin Harvick); so, too, have the Daytona Duels. Danica Patrick has earned a historic pole.

Yes, the Daytona 500 is here. And what a 500 it was, with Jimmie Johnson nabbing the lead late and holding off Dale Earnhardt Jr. to take the checkered flag.

Read below for comprehensive coverage of the Great American Race from

Second time for Five-Time

Jimmie Johnson had one of the fastest cars all day. Just as importantly, he stayed out of trouble. That combination proved unbeatable in NASCAR's season-opening Daytona 500. | See the full story

NASCAR's next superstar

Fans clamored to shout adulations to Danica Patrick. The No. 10 driver's crew chief proudly gave her a bear hug. What was Patrick doing in the midst of all the celebrating? Wondering how she could have done better. | See the full story

Driving through damage

His No. 2 Ford dented and needing a massive tape job, defending Cup champion Brad Keselowski decided to motor through. He was rewarded with a late lead and fourth-place finish. | See the full story

From prolific to parked

Matt Kenseth was on his way to challenging for his second consecutive Daytona 500 win. The No. 20 Toyota was in front and had led for 86 laps before Kenseth saw something no driver wants to see -- smoke. The engine failure sent him to the garage, and he wasn't the only Joe Gibbs Racing driver to have car problems. | See the full story

Full 500 field

We've known for a while that Danica Patrick will lead the Daytona 500 field to the green flag after posting the fastest qualifying time. Now we know where the rest of the field will be after the Daytona Duels. Also in good position: Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch, among others. | See the full lineup

Tony's time?

Ask any NASCAR driver about the Daytona 500, and they'll all say the same thing -- it's the biggest race in the world. Tony Stewart has built a Hall of Fame career, without winning the big one. Is this the year he'll break through? | Read the full story

Defining Danica

Danica Patrick made news all week -- this time, for her on-track success. Her success story, though, goes far beyond the track. Holly Cain takes an in-depth look at the 30-year-old who continues to improve -- and impress. | Read the full story

Out of the spotlight

The talk of Daytona has been Danica Patrick, and that's just fine with Jeff Gordon. Somehow, after qualifying second and running superbly in the Daytona Duels, Gordon is under the radar. That's just fine with him. | Read the full story

Bringing good luck

Racers are a superstitious bunch at times. Perhaps Kevin Harvick has found the secret to success -- letting 7-month-old son Keelan sit in his driver's seat. Hey, it worked at The Sprint Unlimited and the Daytona Duels. | Read the full story

Junior finds speed

Some big names elected to sit out of Saturday's final practice, but not Dale Earnhardt Jr. Good thing, too, for Junior, who turned in the fastest speed of the week. Is it enough to offset a week full of bad luck and mishaps? | Read the full story

'Smoke' settles in

While most of the attention has been on teammate Danica Patrick, Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner Tony Stewart gushed about his car Friday afternoon. Is he a favorite? | Read the full story

Reunion, of sorts

Jeff Gordon and Ray Evernham did great things together as driver and crew chief. Now Evernham, who is retired, is trying to recruit Gordon to the TV booth. See what the No. 24 driver has to say about his future. | Read the full story

Newtown not let down

Talk about pressure. Michael Waltrip wasn't guaranteed a spot in the Daytona 500, and his car -- switched to No. 26 -- honored victims of the Newtown, Conn., school shooting. David Caraviello details a nerve-wracking, but ultimately happy, day for the crew. | Read the full story

Duels set field

Kevin Harvick, who won The Sprint Unlimited last Saturday, won Duel 1 Thursday, putting himself in position to race up front at the Daytona 500. Kyle Busch won Duel 2. The ramifications of both races are huge. | Read the full story

Viewer's guide

Have a question -- any question -- about what's going on at the track for Sunday's Daytona 500? The Viewer's Guide lists all the practice times and relevant links you'll need to navigate NASCAR's busiest week. | Read the full story

Blown engine, blown chances?

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was sent to the back of the field for the Daytona Duels after blowing his engine during a Wednesday practice. The No. 88 driver ponders his Daytona chances. | Read the full story

Reflective state

Now that drivers are getting used to the new Generation-6 car, they are making some minor -- but important -- changes. Matt Kenseth, for example, is moving his mirrors by mere inches after a wreck during practice. | Read the full story

Paint preview

Cars are starting to get their final look before the green flag drops on Sunday. Perhaps the most meaningful paint scheme is that of Michael Waltrip, who switched numbers from No. 30 to No. 26 to honor victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. | Read the full story

By the Numbers

Take an in-depth look at the history of the Daytona 500 in this story told exclusively by numbers. From the youngest race winner to the oldest race winner, and practically everything in between, you'll learn something new. | Read the full story

History at hand

Danica Patrick's historic pole at the Daytona has the entire sport buzzing. Its long-term ramifications, though, will almost certainly be felt far beyond the walls of Daytona International Speedway. Holly Cain explains this story's full scope. | Read the full story


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