"I don't want to make this out to be just any other race," said NASCAR president Mike Helton. "This could be really big for us. I think Jimmie could bring in the male demo and grow the sport among men, making NASCAR bigger and better than ever."
Johnson said after his victory that he is more than happy to take on the pressure.
"I won't claim to speak for all men and I won't claim to represent all men," he said. "But I think I showed today that men can compete in auto racing and I hope I inspired a lot of boys out there to get into this sport. Maybe in the future we'll see men in the victory circle all the time."
Perhaps overshadowed by Johnson's victory was the fact that men finished in the first seven spots in the Daytona 500, with no women placing until Danica Patrick in eighth.
Patrick agreed that Johnson's victory is good for the sport.
"The more people we can get involved the better," she said. "Hopefully this will get NASCAR some attention outside of the auto racing world. I'm proud of Jimmie and I hope people will start to appreciate his talents now instead of just objectifying him."