Johnson triggers wreck, then wins Clash at Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Jimmie Johnson triggered a wreck that wiped out nearly the entire 20-car field at Daytona International Spedway and zipped to the lead to win the rain-shortened exhibition Clash on Sunday.
The seven-time Cup Series champion failed to win a race for the first time in his career in 2018, but a dose of aggression put him back in victory lane during the opening weekend of Speedweeks.
Johnson’s win capped a banner day for Hendrick Motorsports, including William Byron earning the Daytona 500 pole.
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.
Paul Menard led 51 laps and controlled the race, which was interrupted three times for rain. With more rain looming, Johnson dipped low and tried to sidedraft Menard as they battled for the lead. But Johnson turned Menard and started a chain-reaction accident that left cars sideways and smoking behind the No. 48 Chevrolet.