Sunday, February 10, 2019

PixelatedRESULTS: Johnson Wins Rain Shortened 2019 Clash at Daytona After Big One

The "Big One" on lap 55 of the Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona on February 10, 2019. (Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

DAYTONA BEACH, Florida (February 10, 2019) -- After what reporter Jim Utter proclaimed as the longest short race in NASCAR history, the Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona has concluded. The race saw three red flag periods for rain, the third resulting in the race being called 17 laps shy of the 75 lap scheduled distance. It wasn’t the rain, however, that will plastor the headlines following this race. It was the move Jimmie Johnson pulled on Paul Menard on the final lap of green flag racing, which led to the “Big One” and resulted in Jimmie Johnson walking into victory lane.

Paul Menard started from the pole, and very quickly he, in his Wood Brothers Racing machine, along with the trio of Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney from Team Penske, found themselves the dominant force in the race, with Menard leading the most laps in the event.

The race itself was a repeating cycle of side by side pack racing for a couple of laps, before the field would find its way into a topside train, running single file along the wall of the Daytona high banks. This would be followed by a shower, a red flag… and another restart.

On lap 55, Paul Menard was leading the freight train that is NASCAR plate racing down the backstretch. Second place Jimmie Johnson, with a feeling of urgency of impending rain, dove low. Both Menard and Johnson slightly drifted toward each other, resulting in contact and initiating the “Big One”.

Only Kurt Busch, Joey Logano, and Ryan Blaney found themselves unscathed in the crash, but Johnson found himself at the front of the field.

Soon thereafter, the skies opened up, and the track was lost -- ending the event.

“It was really just a racing thing,” Johnson said. “I was going down into Turn 1 and it was looking darker and darker. I saw my move and I had to take it.”

He added, “Just really happy about a great day for Hendrick Motorsports, for Chevrolet, for Ally coming on board and qualifying third for the Daytona 500 and then to win The Clash. Kevin Meendering leading this team. I’m extremely excited to win. It’s not a points race, but it’s a good start.

Paul Menard took some of the blame for the multi-car crash, but was not very happy with the level of aggressiveness by Johnson.

“I moved down a little bit and the next thing I knew, I was getting turned in the left rear,” Menard told Fox Sports 1. “We tore up the car for no good reason. … It sucks that aggressive side drafting caused that big crash.”

After the race was called, Fox Sports’ Bob Pockrass was the first to inform that Jimmie Johnson had been declared the winner.

“Jimmie’s a seven time champion,” said Menard. “I’ve got a lot of respect for him but we come to these plate tracks and he causes at least one wreck at every plate track. He got in July here last year and that’s unfortunate that he just did it again.”

PixelatedPICK Joey Logano was one of the few drivers to make it through without a scratch. After being shuffled back during the final stint, he was able to miss this chaos, and finished third.

“We worked our way up into maybe the fourth spot when they started crashing in front of us,” said Logano. “I’m proud that we were able to make the bottom work at least a little bit, but it’s just tough sledding down there.”

He added, “If you can get a few cars to commit with you, you can make it happen. It shows that we’ve got speed in our race cars. That’s a great thing, and then after that it’s a matter of getting people to work with you, which we did. They were our teammates, but I think we showed that we’ve got plenty of speed, which will help us in the 500.”

Unofficial Results - Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona:

1. Jimmie Johnson
2. Kurt Busch
3. Joey Logano
4. Ryan Blaney
5. Alex Bowman
6. Austin Dillon
7. Chase Elliott
8. Aric Almirola
9. Ryan Newman
10. Daniel Suarez
11. Jamie McMurray
12. Kevin Harvick
13. Paul Menard
14. Kyle Busch
15. Martin Truex Jr.
16. Clint Bowyer
17. Denny Hamlin
18. Brad Keselowski
19. Kyle Larson
20. Erik Jones

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