THROWBACK: Jimmie Johnson Shows His Class To Claim Two Stunning NASCAR Daytona 500 Wins

Published 02/13/2021, 1:03 PM EST
BRISTOL, TN – APRIL 06: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Ally Chevrolet, prepares to drive during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Donald Page/Getty Images)


For the very first time in 20 years, the Daytona 500 will not have iconic NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson in it. A winner of the ‘Great American Race’ on two occasions himself, he certainly entertained racing audiences to no end during his vastly illustrious career.

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The seven-time Cup Series champion now begins a new chapter, transitioning to open-wheel racing for the first time in his life. Rest assured though, Hendrick Motorsports’ and indeed NASCAR fans would be following hin, as he takes to IndyCar in a few months’ time.

But that said, now would be a good time to look back on both of his glorious Daytona 500 wins ahead of the 2021 edition. The interesting fact is that on both those occasions, he started outside of the Top 5 places.

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Jimmie Johnson finished fourth in Duel 1 of the 2006 Daytona 500 race

Following a decent qualifying session, Johnson lined up in 9th alongside Roush Racing’s Mark Martin on the fifth row. As the race got underway, the Hendrick Motorsports No.48 seared through the field, passing his opponents one by one.

With 16 laps to go in the race, Johnson had made his way up to second place. Needing to only overtake teammate Brian Vickers, there was a gap of nearly 1 second as Johnson attempted to make the move time and again.

But the No.48 finally got his chance on Lap 187, when he swiftly passed Vickers. Maintaining the lead after the officials brought a caution out, Johnson saw out the remaining 10 laps to win his first ever Daytona 500 race.

Johnson also started in an identical ninth place for the 2013 edition of the Daytona 500

Facing a similar situation from his 2006 win, Johnson had to drive through the frontrunners’ traffic to make his presence felt. With a host of cautions and smart pit stop strategy coming to his aid, Johnson did what he has done best for a long time – reclaim the lead in important but dying moments.

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Speeding on from the restart on Lap 194, Johnson took the outside route and whizzed past Brad Keselowski. The former did face intense pressure from both Martin and Earnhardt Jr on the final lap, but he kept his composure to deliver the win on his 400th race start.

That will be the sort of racing we will expect all drivers to display when the 2021 Daytona 500 gets underway. So when the No.48 rolls out on the track on Sunday, NASCAR fans will no doubt reminisce about a familiar name that gave them so many historic memories.

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MORE – “Really Fast Cars” – Alex Bowman Fancies Chances After Winning Pole Position for NASCAR Daytona 500

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Bhargav Gopal

927 articles

Hailing from Bengaluru, Bhargav is an F1 and NASCAR author for EssentiallySports. He is a huge fan of Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing. Bhargav also has an MBA in Sports Management from the Symbiosis School of Sports Sciences, Pune.

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