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Johnson clinches first sweep of Daytona since 1982

Jimmie Johnson won the Daytona 500 that kicked off the 2013 season, and on Saturday night he doubled up with a repeat success in the mid-season return to the superspeedway.
Jimmie Johnson was back on top and back in victory lane at the end of the Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway, and all felt right with the universe once more after three weeks of relative jitters for the five time champion.

Not the case at Daytona International Speedway this week however, which he saw him lead for 94 of the 161 2.5-mile laps of the restrictor plate event, effectively keeping himself nice and safe all evening by being too far out in front to come to any harm in accidents sparked by others during the race. That allowed him to claim the chequered flag at the end while mayhem broke out behind him - the first time that a driver has claimed both Cup victories at Daytona in the same season since Bobby Allison in 1982.

“That is amazing," said Johnson when confronted with the historical context of his achievement. " Gosh, I remember being in Southern California watching Bobby Allison ... I always thought it was so great to watch Bobby and Davey race. To tie anything that Bobby has done is pretty special. Very happy tonight."

At the start, Matt Kenseth had narrowly led at the end of the first lap but after that it was his Joe Gibbs Racing team mate Kyle Busch who reasserted his pole winner right of possession to the top spot for the opening 25 laps through to the first caution of the night caused by fluid laid down by an engine blow-up for Paul Menard.

"Absolutely no warning, the water was 225 and we were just kind of riding there," said Menard of his unusually early engine failure from the normally rock-solid Chevrolet. "The car was really good, handled great. Kind of biding our time for the first pit stop came off turn four and something just let go. It wasn't smoking, it broke and I could hear it. I felt the heat come up. I didn't know if I was on fire or not. I couldn't feel it right away. Just unfortunate, we needed a good run and had a really good car today."

Taking the low line, Johnson managed to take the lead from Busch at the restart and took Kasey Kahne, Joey Logano and Dale Earnhardt Jr. with him to the front. Johnson led continuously from lap 33 through to lap 70, at which point it was Logano who brought out the second yellow of the night with an tyre blow-out.

“It was a right-front," said Logano, at a loss to suggest any cause for the problem. "I don't really know what it was. I really don't think I ran anything over and in looking it over it looks like a shoulder failure to me. I don't know why, I haven't seen any tyre issues out here."

The blow-out put Logano into the wall and did considerable damage to the #22 Penske racing car, although at least the driver was unhurt. "It was a big hit, but a bigger hit in the points, really. We'll have to fix this thing up and put a new right-front suspension on and get back out there to try and gain a couple more spots if we can. It's just a bummer - the Shell/Pennzoil team has done a great job all year gaining up some points. We'll lose a lot here, but we're not out of it by any means."

While Logano did resume late in the race, he ended up making up just a single place in the final standings for all the hard work of the Penske crew, as the only retiree he was able to overhaul in the time remaining was Martin Truex Jr., who crashed out on lap 97 after possible contact with Denny Hamlin. Kyle Busch was also caught up in the incident and sustained front end damage to the #18, and Juan Pablo Montoya was similarly collected.




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Speedy-dry is seen coming from #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, driven by Kyle Busch, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Dover White Chevrolet, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Dover White Chevrolet, celebrates with the chequered flag as he performs a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 Blue DEF Diesel Exhaust Fluid Toyota, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Casey Mears, driver of the #13 GEICO Ford, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, JJ Yeley, driver of the #36 Golden Corral Chevrolet, and David Gilliland, driver of the #38 Long John Silver`s Ford, are involved in an incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, holds his daughter, Lydia Sunday, November 22, 2015 before final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Johnson and other Jeff Gordon teammates at Hendrick Motorsports wore tribute hats to honor the retiring Chevy driver prior to the start of the race. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, races to a second place finish, Sunday, November 22, 2015 in the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Harvick finishes as the runner-up in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, races to a second place finish, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS finishes in sixth place, and Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision finishes in twelfth place Sunday, November 22, 2015 in the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. This Chevrolet drivers finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th (respectively) in the Chase of the Cup Championship. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Series championship contenders Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, take part in pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, and Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship and the race with a burnout after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship and the race in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship and the race with his team after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane after winning the series championship and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, and Daniel Suarez, driver of the #18 ARRIS Toyota, lead the field on the first lap of the NASCAR XFINITY Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 21, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Austin Dillon, driver of the #33 Rheem Chevrolet, leads Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Crest Chevrolet, during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 21, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)

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