Jimmie Johnson Wins in Rain-Shortened Clash

DAYTONA BEACH, FL – FEBRUARY 10: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Ally Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona International Speedway on February 10, 2019 in Daytona Beach, Florida. Photo – Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

The 2019 NASCAR season kicked off Sunday in a 75-lap Advance Auto Parts Clash for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. This race followed the Daytona 500 qualifying where all four Hendrick Motorsport drivers claimed the top-four spots. William Byron and Alex Bowman claimed the front row for the ‘Great American Race’ next weekend. The Clash field consisted of last year’s pole award winners, former Daytona 500 winners, all 2018 playoff drivers. It was a star-studded lineup of drivers ready to do battle.

The Clash left a lot to be desired as the drivers moved into single-file quickly upon the start of the race. There was a weather caution early in the race and Paul Menard held the lead. Brad Keselowski was contending him for the lead when the yellow flag was waved for rain. The rain delay lasted only a short period of time.

Then, a competition caution was thrown at lap 25 to allow the drivers to adjust to the weathered track. Paul Menard took control of the race from then on as everyone else fell into single-file behind him. Many drivers made attempts move on the bottom lane until they lost momentum and moved to the back of the field.

After another caution was thrown because of mother nature resulting in the drivers going back green with only 30 laps remaining. With more rain on the way, it was time for someone to make a move.

Jimmie Johnson was trailing Menard in the second position. Johnson had a run coming down the backstretch and moved underneath Menard. With both cars now together, Menard came down a bit, but the side force caused Menard’s No. 21 car to spin and the rest of the pack was hung out to dry. Out of the 20 car field, 17 cars were involved in the wreck.

The caution came out right as it started raining at the superspeedway. Jimmie Johnson was lucky enough to not spin out during the wreck and was listed as the race leader. NASCAR officials then called the race and Johnson won the 2019 Advance Auto Parts Clash.

It was an exciting day to kick off the Speedweeks at Daytona. All four Hendrick cars were dominant in qualifying for the Daytona 500 and Johnson made a key move for the lead in The Clash at the right time to be declared the winner.

On Thursday night, the qualifying field will be split for two Gander RV Duel races to set the rest of the starting lineup for the Daytona 500. The first duel will begin at 7 pm ET and the second duel immediately follows.