Five-time NASCAR series champion Jimmie Johnson won the 55th running of the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway at the wheel of a Chevrolet SS NASCAR, the racing version of Chevrolet’s new flagship sports sedan based on the forthcoming Holden VF Commodore.
"Holden's new retail export campaign couldn't have got off to a better start," said Holden Chairman and Managing Director Mike Devereux. "A win at Daytona is a major event, and a great way for Holden and Chevrolet to give the new SS some great early publicity in the market as the American brand's new flagship sports sedan."
The Chevrolet SS has been dubbed as the car that will put the ‘stock’ back into stock car racing, as the new 2013 cars more closely resemble their showroom counterparts than ever in recent years.
The roadgoing SS debuts in American showrooms later this year, and will be built by Holden Vehicle Operations in Adelaide, South Australia.
"I’m very happy to win the first Gen-6 race in the Gen-6 car for Chevrolet in their SS," said Johnson, who led 16 laps and took the lead for good shortly after the final restart. Johnson, who also won Daytona 500 in 2006, now has 61 victories in 400 career starts.
"Congratulations to Jimmie Johnson, (crew chief) Chad Knaus and (team owner) Rick Hendrick on their victory in The Great American Race," said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet vice president of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. "And for the Chevrolet SS to win its first points race is incredible. This is a culmination of a tremendous effort by our engineers, owners, drivers, crew chiefs and teams who worked together to develop the Chevrolet SS race car. So much hard work went into preparing the Chevrolet SS for competition in the Sprint Cup series. We waited a long time for this race, and the performance of the No. 48 team made that wait worthwhile."
Johnson finished 0.129 seconds ahead of teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet SS). It’s the third time in the last four years that Earnhardt Jr. has been the Daytona 500 runner-up. Ryan Newman (fifth, No. 39 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS), Regan Smith (seventh, No. 51 Phoenix Construction Chevrolet) and pole-sitter Danica Patrick (eighth, No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS) also finished in the top 10 for Team Chevy. It was the seventh Daytona 500 victory for Hendrick.
Chevrolet now has 22 Daytona 500 victories, more than any other manufacturer. A Team Chevy driver has won seven of the last 11 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series openers at the 2.5-mile (4.02km) track.