Jimmie Johnson Manages Late-Race Triumph in Rain-Soaked Daytona Clash Event

Paul Menard dominated the exhibition race but contact with Johnson sent him into the wall, resulting in a crash that wiped out nearly 20 cars.

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. Fellow HMS driver Alex Bowman also performed well in qualifying, scoring his second consecutive front-row start for the South Florida classic.

“Yeah, this is great to have all four Hendrick cars qualify one through four, us in third with the Ally Chevy, and, then, to have a very competitive race here today. I wish we could get in the full distance, but obviously, the weather isn’t cooperating,” Johnson said.

Johnson took the lead after he and Paul Menard made contact, resulting in the latter hitting the wall and most of the 20-car field being collected on lap 55. Rain during the caution brought the red flag, followed by the checkered flag on lap 58.

Most cars in 2019 Clash wreck late in race.

Most cars in 2019 Clash wreck late in race.

, 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 Feb. 10, 2019., Getty Images for NASCAR

“I knew the rain was coming, so I was trying to set-up my move and make my run on the No. 21 [Menard] car,” Johnson said. “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.”

The rain that ultimately ended the race was the third weather-stoppage of the race. Red flag periods also came on lap 8 and lap 43 of the race that was scheduled for a 75-lap distance, all because of rain.

Menard on the pole.

Menard on the pole.

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

Menard dominated the race, leading 37 of the 43 laps before the second rain delay. He continued up front when the race returned to green and led the field until the incident with Johnson. By the end of the race, Menard had broken the record for most laps led by a driver in a Clash race with 51. He wound up 13th at the finish.

Kurt Busch was credited with a second-place finish but though he should’ve been the race winner. He had a discussion with a NASCAR official after the race, claiming Johnson took his lead by passing below the track’s yellow line, an illegal move according to the NASCAR rule book. NASCAR determined that Johnson was forced below the yellow line.

Reigning Cup Series champion Joey Logano, his Team Penske teammate Ryan Blaney, and Alex Bowman rounded out the top-five.

The yellow flag waved four times. The caution for the multi-car crash at the end of the race was the only yellow flag for an on-track incident. Aside from the rain-related cautions, the yellow flag also waved on lap 25 for a scheduled competition caution.


1. Jimmie Johnson [No. 48 Chevrolet]

2. Kurt Busch, No. 1 Chevrolet

3. Joey Logano, No. 22 Ford

4. Ryan Blaney, No. 12 Ford

5. Alex Bowman, No. 88 Chevrolet

6. Austin Dillon, No. 3 Chevrolet

7. Chase Elliott, No. 9 Chevrolet

8. Aric Almirola, No. 10 Ford

9. Ryan Newman, No. 6 Ford

10. Daniel Suarez, No. 41 Ford

11. Jamie McMurray, No. 40 Chevrolet

12. Kevin Harvick, No. 4 Ford

13. Paul Menard, No. 21 Ford

14. Kyle Busch, No. 18 Toyota

15. Martin Truex Jr., No. 19 Toyota

16. Clint Bowyer, No. 14 Ford

17. Denny Hamlin, No. 11 Toyota

18. Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Ford

19. Kyle Larson, No. 42 Chevrolet

20. Erik Jones, No. 20 Toyota