Jimmie Johnson wrecks then wins rain-shortened Daytona Clash

Jimmie Johnson ended his streak of wrecking out of the Daytona Clash but not wrecking in the race.

Jimmie Johnson wrecks then wins rain-shortened Daytona Clash
Crash, Martin Truex Jr., Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry Bass Pro Shops, Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry M&M's Chocolate Bar, Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing, Chevrolet Camaro Credit One Bank, Ryan Newman, Roush Fenway Racing, Ford Mustang Oscar Mayer Deli Fresh
Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro Ally
Crash, Martin Truex Jr., Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry Bass Pro Shops, Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry M&M's Chocolate Bar, Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing, Chevrolet Camaro Credit One Bank, Ryan Newman, Roush Fenway Racing, Ford Mustang Oscar Mayer Deli Fresh
Winner Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro Ally
Ryan Newman, Roush Fenway Racing, Ford Mustang Wyndham Rewards, Joey Logano, Team Penske Ford, Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Ryan Blaney, Team Penske, Ford Mustang Menards/Peak
Clint Bowyer, Stewart-Haas Racing, Ford Mustang Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1, Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro Mountain Dew 1, Austin Dillon, Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet,

Running second behind leader Paul Menard on Lap 57 of the scheduled 75, Johnson moved to the inside in an attempt to pass just as Menard appeared to begin a move to block.

The two made contact, with Menard spinning and hitting the wall and the chain reaction collected all but a handful of the entire 20-car field.

Shortly after the incident and before the race could return to green, heavy rain covered the track again and brought an early end to the race.

“It was really just a racing thing,” Johnson said. “I was going down into Turn 1 and it was looking darker and darker. I saw my move and I had to take it.”

The win was Johnson’s first victory in over a year of any kind, although it doesn’t count in the Cup series standings. Earlier in the day Johnson’s teammate, William Byron, won the pole for next weekend’s Daytona 500.

 

Asked to go through the incident, Johnson said: "I knew the rain was coming, so I was trying to set-up my move and make my run on the No. 21 car. I had it kind of set-up down the backstretch a few laps prior to that and then my opportunity came along, I made that move to the inside and then we kind of got together. 

"I’m not sure if just the air breaking his bumper plane pulled his car over or if he was late to block, but it was just really a racing thing honestly. So, I made my move and unfortunately he got sideways and it collected a bunch of cars.”  
 
Johnson said he was still happy to begin the new season with a victory.
 
“It feels good - a great day for Hendrick Motorsports, for Chevrolet, for Ally coming on board and qualifying third for the Daytona 500 and then to win the Clash," he said. "Kevin Meendering (crew chief), leading this team; there have been a lot of things going on. I’m extremely excited to win. It’s not a points race, but it’s a good start.”

Kurt Busch ended up second, Joey Logano third, Ryan Blaney fourth and Alex Bowman completed the top-five.

Rounding out the Top 10 were Austin Dillon, Elliott, Almirola, Newman and Suarez.

When the second segment went green on Lap 33, Menard led the way followed by Blaney, Kyle Larson, Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin.

The race reached the halfway point on Lap 38 with weather continuing to threaten and Menard still out front followed by Hamlin and Keselowski.

Caution for rain was displayed on Lap 41. The race was halted on Lap 44 as the rain picked up. After an eight-minute delay, the race returned to caution.

Menard continued to lead the way when the race returned to green on Lap 48.

With 25 laps remaining, Johnson had moved up to second behind Menard with Kurt Busch running in third.

Segment 1

Austin Dillon claimed the victory in the first 25-lap segment as several drivers elected to pit prior to its conclusion.

Kyle Busch grabbed the lead on the first lap only to see Menard, who started from the pole, reclaim it a lap later.

Seven laps into the first segment, NASCAR displayed the caution when rain was reported around the track. Menard led the way followed by Keselowski and Bowman as the red flag was displayed after nine laps.

Once the race returned to caution, Harvick, Elliott, Jamie McMurray and Almirola all elected to pit. The race returned to green on Lap 13 following a more than 21-minute delay.

Many of the cars elected to pit prior to the break between the first two segments.

Both Elliott and Hamlin had to start the race from the rear of the field as both teams had moved to backup cars.

Cla # Driver 4506 Laps Time Laps Led
1 48 United States Jimmie Johnson  Chevrolet 59   5
2 1 United States Kurt Busch  Chevrolet 59 0.885  
3 22 United States Joey Logano  Ford 59 2.149  
4 12 United States Ryan Blaney  Ford 59 3.722  
5 88 United States Alex Bowman  Chevrolet 59 6.139  
6 3 United States Austin Dillon  Chevrolet 59 8.219 3
7 9 United States Chase Elliott  Chevrolet 59 8.220  
8 10 United States Aric Almirola  Ford 59 10.870  
9 6 United States Ryan Newman  Ford 59    
10 41 Mexico Daniel Suarez  Ford 58 1'18.825  
11 40 United States Jamie McMurray  Chevrolet 58 1 lap  
12 4 United States Kevin Harvick  Ford 57 1 lap  
13 21 United States Paul Menard  Ford 55 3 laps 52
14 18 United States Kyle Busch  Toyota 55 3 laps 1
15 19 United States Martin Truex Jr.  Toyota 55 3 laps  
16 14 United States Clint Bowyer  Ford 55 3 laps  
17 11 United States Denny Hamlin  Toyota 55 3 laps  
18 2 United States Brad Keselowski  Ford 55 3 laps  
19 42 United States Kyle Larson  Chevrolet 55 3 laps  
20 20 United States Erik Jones  Toyota 55 3 laps  

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