Daytona 500: 55th American Classic Doesn’t Disappoint

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

The sport of NASCAR held its Super Bowl on Sunday with the 55th running of the Daytona 500, and this one lived up to the hype as the ‘great American race.’

2013 was a unique year in the sense that a woman won the pole for the first time in the sport’s history. Danica Patrick was the talk of the racing community for the last week, and deservedly so. The rookie stepped up to the plate and stayed in the top 10 for nearly the entire race. She didn’t have the winning car Sunday, but she had a really good car, and at the same time she won respect from many across this great land.

It’s funny to think that someone as dominant as Jimmie Johnson was still overlooked by some coming into this race, but the five-time Sprint Cup champion showed once again why he is the best driver in the sport. Johnson took control late in the race and didn’t look back.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. had a great showing as he finished second, just behind his teammate Johnson. Jr’s car just didn’t quite have enough to overtake Johnson on the final lap.

All that matters though, is that fans saw a good, fairly clean race. It was a race that could have been decided on a caution, but officials ignored the wreck towards the back of the pack to allow the clean finish. This sealed the fate of the 55th running as being one to remember.

The sport’s most dominant driver took the spotlight once again, while it’s emerging female star showed she can in fact hang with anyone. All at the same time, the most popular driver illustrated that he may be a legitimate contender for the cup in 2013.

So, for even casual fans like myself, the Daytona 500 was a great spectacle to behold. Everyone had a little something to enjoy, and even though the sentimental favorite in Patrick didn’t win, she showed that there could be checkered flags in her near future. If that happens, it only means positive things for NASCAR and its fans.

 

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