Tuesday, 23 April, 2019

Jimmie Johnson wins rain-shortened Clash at Daytona

Tanner Berryhill during a NASCAR Cup Series auto race on Sunday Nov. 11 2018 in Avondale Ariz. More Tanner Berryhill during a NASCAR Cup Series auto race on Sunday Nov. 11 2018 in Avondale Ariz. More
Cassandra Castillo | 13 February, 2019, 19:52

William Byron put Hendrick Motorsports in a familiar position: on the pole for the Daytona 500. It wasn't the rain, however, that will plastor the headlines following this race. On Sunday, Johnson ducked out under Paul Menard and the air seemed to suck the two cars together.

Besides the controversial finish with Johnson, there really wasn't much to write on about this race since the field was a single file for the majority of the race. He was greeted there by his father, who won a Cup race at Daytona in 2000, as Jeff Burton was the first to lean inside Burton's window. No more green flag laps were contested following this wreck. Paul Menard started off on the pole and led the majority of the race with his new Ford Mustang. Second place Jimmie Johnson, with a feeling of urgency of impending rain, dove low. "So this year to have them right on top of each other just means that the organization did a heck of a job, engine shop, body shop, teams working together".

Kurt Busch finished second and team owner Chip Ganassi went to NASCAR officials to argue that Johnson should be disqualified for going below the double-yellow line in the incident.

Soon thereafter, the skies opened up, and the track was lost - ending the event.

Johnson acknowledged he caused the contact, and said after the race he felt bad for the cars that crashed, but also said he was justified. "I saw my move and I had to take it".

The 20-car field was comprised of drivers who won a Cup pole in 2018, former Clash winners who competed full-time in 2018, former Daytona 500 winners who competed full-time in 2018, former Daytona 500 pole winners who competed full-time in 2018, and drivers who qualified for last year's Cup playoffs.

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Johnson for a year has insisted he can still win a record eighth championship, and now he must do it with first-year Cup crew chief Kevin Meendering.

"We still need a points race win to say we're back in victory lane", Johnson said. Aside of Johnson, who led only the race's final four laps under caution, three other drivers led at least one lap of the race.

"We could see it coming and I knew that was probably my lap to make the move and I had a great run down the back. Tore up a good vehicle for no good reason".

Johnson called the invocation "cute to hear".

"It just drug Menard around with him, and that's some of the instability in the draft that these cars show", Busch said. I was inside of him for a little while before things went haywire, so I don't know what caused his vehicle to get out of control. "He got us in July here previous year".

Once again, it seems like the only cars that could make headway on the bottom were the Penske Fords, when that group was led by Joey Logano.

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