When contact between the cars of Jimmie Johnson and Paul Menard triggered the 17-car wreck that gave Johnson the victory in Sunday’s Advance Auto parts Clash at Daytona International Speedway, Johnson had to dip below the yellow line to avoid Menard’s spinning car.
Race runner-up Kurt Busch, driving the No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for the first time, was hoping against hope Johnson’s action would be construed as “passing below the yellow line” and result in a demotion, giving Busch the win, but that was just wishful thinking.
After all, the scramble occurred after the accident had started, and cars throughout the field began taking evasive action.
“Yeah, I didn’t quite see him until I saw the first replay after the race, and it clearly shows he’s below the double yellow. Can the rule be interpreted he went to go pass below the double yellow? Yes. Can it be interpreted that Menard forced him below the double yellow? Yes.
“Right now (team owner Chip Ganassi) is over there at the hauler just checking in, just seeing what the call can be, and again, it’s like any sport right now—we see it in the NFL, the NBA, Major League Baseball, it’s all an umpire or referee call, and they can decide which way it needs to go.
“But, hey, we almost won our first race together, and we’ll take second.”Kurt Busch, now racing the No. 1 at Chip Ganassi Racing