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Johnson Wins Season-Opening Clash at Daytona

13 February, 2019, 03:36 | Author: Heidi Alvarez
  • Johnson Wins Season-Opening Clash at Daytona

Jimmie Johnson continued Hendrick Motorsports' Sunday of domination with a win in the Advanced Auto Parts Clash after teammate William Byron claimed pole for next Sunday's season-opening Daytona 500.

Byron and teammate Alex Bowman locked in the front row for "The Great American Race" during qualifying laps Sunday at Daytona International Speedway.

The rest of the 40-car lineup will be set by two qualifying races Thursday. "Kevin Meendering [crew chief] leading this team, there have been a lot of things going on", Johnson said.

Paul Menard, who drew the pole position yesterday, led 7 of the first 8 laps before the first red flag came out due to rain. Rain during the caution brought the red flag, followed by the checkered flag on lap 58. Only four cars made it out of the wreck.

As part of a policy change, the cars of the first-place and second-place finishers, plus at least one randomly selected vehicle, will undergo post-race inspection at the track.

"That's a pretty fantastic feat, I feel", said longtime Hendrick crew chief Chad Knaus, who is entering his first season with Byron after 18 years with Johnson. "I had it kind of set-up down the backstretch a few laps prior to that, and then, my opportunity came along". I'm not sure if just the air breaking his bumper plane pulled his vehicle over or if he was late to block, but it was just really a racing thing, honestly.

The rain that ultimately ended the race was the third weather-stoppage of the race.

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Paul Menard [21] started on the pole for the Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona International Speedway on February 10, 2019.

Menard reclaimed the lead as Johnson caught up to him.

He took some consolation in setting a record for laps led in the Clash. He wound up 13th at the finish.

Kurt Busch finished second but thought he should've been declared the victor, as he disputed to NASCAR officials Johnson's move below the yellow line that gave Johnson the lead. In fact, not including Johnson's vehicle, only three other cars made it through this wreck unscathed.

Kurt Busch finished second, with Joey Logano in third, Ryan Blaney in fourth and Bowman in fifth.

In all, the yellow flag waved four times, with the late-race multi-car incident being the only on-track incident of the race.

Most of the field pitted on lap 25, with Aric Almirola and Daniel Suárez getting slapped by speeding and crewman-over-the-wall-too-soon penalties on their stops. Alex Bowman, No. 88 Chevrolet 6. Not every Cup series driver is eligible to compete in the Clash, though. Clint Bowyer, No. 14 Ford 17. Kyle Busch, No. 18 Toyota 15.

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