Jimmie Johnson Wins The Clash At Daytona Following A Massive Crash And Rainby Hunter Thomas February 10, 2019 0 comments
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Jimmie Johnson was declared the winner of the Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona International Speedway following a massive crash and rain.
Paul Menard had by far the most dominate car, leading 51 of the 59 completed laps. With just 20 laps to go and rain in the area, seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion, Johnson made a bold move to take over the lead on the backstretch. Both, Menard and John collided, igniting a crash where only four cars escaped the carnage.
“Yeah, I knew the rain was coming, so I was trying to set-up my move and make my run on the No. 21 car,” said Johnson, driver of the Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Ally Chevrolet. “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.”
As officials attempted to clean up the carnage, rain began to fall for the third time throughout the event. NASCAR called the race on Lap 59 of the 75-lap race and named Johnson as the winner.
“I’m just really happy about honestly, 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,” Johnson said. “Kevin Meendering, 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 escaped the crash to finish second. The 2004 series champion enters this season racing the No. 1 Monster Energy Chevrolet for Chip Ganassi Racing after competing for Stewart-Haas Racing since 2014. Sunday’s race really helped Busch get back into the groove and learn how to compete alongside of his new team.
“It was a pretty crazy day with the rain and just the yellows and the line-up and it was just kind of everybody getting back in the groove, but man, there was a lot to digest especially with me on a new team. I love all the guys at Ganassi, Matt McCall (crew chief), I didn’t know we were quite pitting under green at lap 25, but those are just those little things that we will learn to iron out. Today was a great day for us to finish second, get some bugs worked out and to jump into next week’s qualifiers.”
Team Penske’s Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney were also able to avoid the pile up to finish third and fourth respectively. The two drivers were making their way towards the front of the pack on the bottom lane when the caution came out.
Alex Bowman rounded out the top-five in the non-points race.
On Thursday, February 14 the Gander RV Duels will set the field for the Daytona 500. William Byron and Bowman have already claimed the front row. The qualifying races will broadcast live on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) and the Motor Racing Network (MRN) beginning at 7 p.m. ET.
The 61st running of the Daytona 500 will broadcast live on FOX and MRN on Sunday, February 17.
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images