"Five Time" delights in being a Daytona "Two Timer"

Sun Feb 24, 2013 8:20pm EST
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By Simon Evans

DAYTONA BEACH (Reuters) - Five-times Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson returned to the peak of the sport with a Daytona 500 triumph achieved with a perfectly timed drive.

Johnson powered past Brad Keselowski after the final re-start and led for the last 10 laps with his challengers unable to match his speed.

"It was just awesome, there is no other way to describe it," said Johnson.

"I felt like I was sitting on something all day and was just ready to have some fun when it counted - and I did," he said.

The Californian's first triumph at Daytona was in 2006 and his fifth Sprint Cup title came in 2010 but last year he drove just a lap before crashing out and then saw the title slip away from him on the final race of the year at Homestead.

Now Johnson, nicknamed 'Five Time', clearly has his eye on a sixth Sprint Cup championship after showing the speed of his Chevrolet matches his ability behind the wheel.

"It is definitely a great start for the team. When we were discussing things before the season started, we felt good about the 500 but we are really excited for everything after this," he said.

"We are very hopeful and excited that our 48 car will be really fast in Phoenix, Vegas, moving forward. I think it is going to be a very strong year for us," he added.   Continued...

Jimmie Johnson poses next to the trophy after he won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 race at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida February 24, 2013. REUTERS/Brian Blanco