Jimmie Johnson became the first driver to score a season-sweep at Daytona International Speedway in 31 years with a dominating victory in Saturday night's Coke Zero 400.
Johnson, who won the Feb. 24 season-opening Daytona 500, led 94 of 161 laps en route to victory in the Fourth of July weekend Sprint Cup Series race at this 2.5-mile superspeedway. Bobby Allison was the last driver to win both the Daytona 500 and the 400-mile event here during the same season, doing so in 1982.
"That's amazing," Johnson said. "To do anything that Bobby has done is pretty special."
Fireball Roberts (1962), Cale Yarborough (1968) and LeeRoy Yarbrough (1969) also won both races at Daytona in the same season.
Johnson, a five-time Sprint Cup champion, scored his fourth win of the season and the 64th of his career. It's also his first victory in the 400-mile race at Daytona.
"I don't know if I really made a bad move tonight, so I'm pretty proud of that," he said.
An accident involving Kasey Kahne, who is Johnson's teammate at Hendrick Motorsports, setup a two-lap overtime finish. After the final restart, Johnson pulled away from the pack without any pushing help. Two multi-car crashes occurred in separate locations during the final lap.
Carl Edwards was caught up in the first wreck in turn 2. NASCAR did not display the caution flag. Just after Johnson crossed the finish line 0.107 seconds ahead of second-place Tony Stewart, another multi-car accident happened on the tri-oval, with Danica Patrick getting turned around.
Stewart, who is the owner of Patrick's No. 10 car and winner of last year's 400-mile race at Daytona, was running in fourth for the last restart but quickly moved into second, right behind Johnson. Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer and Michael Waltrip had crossed the line third through fifth, respectively, when the wreck took place on the frontstretch.
"I'm just glad we were ahead of the carnage," Stewart said.
The race ran accident free until lap 99 when Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr. and Juan Pablo Montoya wrecked on the frontstretch. Truex crashed into the wall along pit road after he got loose and made contact with Hamlin.
"It was strange and felt like my left-rear tire blew out," Truex said. "It happened so fast. So I'm not exactly sure if I was in the worst position possible when the 11 (Hamlin) came up on me. Before he even touched me, I was turning sideways. It was totally unexpected, because our car had been really good all night. It never showed any signs of being loose. I think it was just that situation I was in. It spun the car around."
On lap 128, Marcos Ambrose and David Stremme got together, with Stremme hitting the wall. A.J. Allmendinger lost control and bumped into Aric Almirola during that incident.
NASCAR had to stop the race for nine minutes after a six-car wreck happened on lap 150. Denny Hamlin triggered the accident when he got loose and spun around. After Hamlin made contact with the wall, Allmendinger plowed into the side of him, which lifted Hamlin's car slightly off the ground and spun it around. Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth, who won his fourth race of the season last weekend at Kentucky, damaged their cars as well.
"I saw the wreck and tried to slow down and miss it, but there just wasn't much I could do," said Kenseth, who started second and led only one lap early in the race.
All drivers involved in accidents were medically examined and released from the track's infield medical care center.
Kahne was running second to Johnson when he had his run-in with Ambrose on the backstretch. He slammed hard into the inside retaining wall.
"I was following Jimmie a lot throughout the race and felt like I had a really good car, but the next thing I know I got slammed and shot left, so it was the end of our night," Kahne said. "It's kind of how these races go. You don't have a lot of control over some of the things that happen here."
Kurt Busch finished sixth, and Jamie McMurray took the seventh spot. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Casey Mears and Ryan Newman completed the top-10. Patrick slid across the finish line in 14th. She started on the pole and finished eighth in the Daytona 500.
Johnson now holds a 49-point lead over Bowyer, who moved up to second in the standings. Edwards dropped to third (-71) after finishing as the last car on the lead lap in 29th.