Tanner Berryhill during a NASCAR Cup Series auto race on Sunday Nov. 11 2018 in Avondale Ariz. More
13 February, 2019, 03:39
Jimmie Johnson triggered a wreck that wiped out almost the entire field at Daytona and zipped to the lead to win the rain-shortened exhibition Clash on Sunday. The 43-year-old NASCAR veteran, who went winless last year for the first time in his career, picked up the victory on Sunday.
The celebration at Daytona comes with a caveat: the last Daytona 500 pole-sitter to win the race was Dale Jarrett in 2000, and Johnson's victory doesn't count in the official NASCAR record book.
In addition to the race-ending 17-car crash on Sunday, four more cars were involved in a crash on the backstretch during Clash practice on Saturday.
"I looked in the mirror and there were a lot of cars caught up in it", Johnson said.
"To me, it would be good to combine with the All-Star Race", noted Harvick. "But it was a great first step today".
A large crash, beginning with contact between Paul Menard and Jimmie Johnson, collects most of the 20 cars in the Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona International Speedway on February 10, 2019.
Paul Menard led 51 laps and controlled the race interrupted three times for rain.
"We want to take care of the cars for sure", Hendrick said. "I don't know what triggered his auto wobbling and then the accident started from there". "Jimmie pulled out I moved down a little bit and the next thing I know is I'm getting turned into the left rear", Menard said.
"Jimmie's a seven-time champion, I got a lot of respect for him".
"That's a pretty wonderful feat, I feel", said longtime Hendrick crew chief Chad Knaus, who is entering his first season with Byron after 18 years with Johnson. "I got below him before he could block it".
Hendrick has been outspoken about how hard the 2018 season was on the organization, calling it one of the worst in team history.
Johnson called the invocation "cute to hear". "But when we come to these plate tracks, he causes at least one wreck every plate race", Menard said in an interview with FS1. "It did weigh on me and I can't wait to win and win often". A new racing package in 2019 also should benefit Bowman and Byron because neither had much experience under the old rules.
"It was putting some pressure on me", Johnson said. After splitting with Johnson at the end of last season, Knaus essentially repeated the feat with Byron. The two had bickered in recent years and at one point had to be separated during a verbal altercation.
William Byron put Hendrick Motorsports in a familiar position: on the pole for the Daytona 500. Xfinity Series crew chief Kevin Mendeering was promoted to Johnson's team.