Jimmie Johnson victorious in rain-shorted Advance Auto Parts Clash after massive wreck
After two of his Hendrick Motorsports teammates, William Byron and Alex Bowman, claimed Daytona 500 front-row starting spots earlier in the day Sunday, Jimmie Johnson was the first man standing following the rain-shortened Advance Auto Parts Clash exhibition race at Daytona International Speedway.
"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. Kevin Meendering [crew chief] leading this team, there have been a lot of things going on,” Johnson said. "I’m extremely excited to win. It’s not a points race, but it’s a good start.”
Kurt Busch finished second but thought he should've been declared the winner, as he disputed to NASCAR officials Johnson's move below the yellow line that gave Johnson the lead. NASCAR, though, ruled that Johnson was forced below the yellow line.
Paul Menard dominated after staring on the pole, leading 51 laps before the race, scheduled for a 75-lap distance, was ended because of rain on lap 58. His laps-led tally set a new record for most laps led in the Clash.
“I didn’t know that,” Menard said. “That’s something for the history books, I guess.”
The new record was little consolation to Menard, who wound up 13th among the 20 competitors in the race as a result of late-race contact with Johnson. That contact resulted in Menard hitting the wall and a multi-car crash that involved most of the cars in the race on lap 55. The race was still under the caution for that includent when rain brought the red and checkered flags.
“Unfortunately, we just got turned, there,” Menard said. ”I didn’t really know what happened until I saw a replay. I felt like it was aggressive side-drafting. I got turned to the inside and hooked to the right, and all hell broke loose.”
In all, the yellow flag waved four times, with the late-race multi-car incident being the only on-track incident of the race. Rain forced two previous yellow and red flags, and a competition caution was scheduled on lap 25.
Team Penske teammates Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney finished third and fourth, and Bowman rounded out the top-five.
ADVANCE AUTO PARTS CLASH RESULTS
1. Jimmie Johnson
2. Kurt Busch
3. Joey Logano
4. Ryan Blaney
5. Alex Bowman
6. Austin Dillon
7. Chase Elliott
8. Aric Almirola
9. Ryan Newman
10. Daniel Suarez
11. Jamie McMurray
12. Kevin Harvick
13. Paul Menard
14. Kyle Busch
15. Martin Truex Jr.
16. Clint Bowyer
17. Denny Hamlin
18. Brad Keselowski
19. Kyle Larson
20. Erik Jones