Johnson wins crash-marred, rain-shortened Conflict
Jimmie Johnson, who had crashed prior to now six Advance Auto Components Conflict races at Daytona Worldwide Speedway, discovered a method to win the 2019 model of the season-opening exhibition race — by serving to to set off a wreck that eradicated almost everybody else.
Moments earlier than a rainstorm halted the motion and finally made the Monster Power NASCAR Cup Sequence race official after 59 of 75 scheduled laps, Johnson — working second on Lap 56 — pulled to the within of chief Paul Menard, who moved down the observe barely as Johnson was trying an in depth side-draft.
Contact between the automobiles in Flip Three despatched Menard spinning and triggered a large pileup behind him, damaging 17 of the 20 automobiles to various levels. Johnson took the lead in his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet and was declared the winner after NASCAR red-flagged the race due to rain for the third time.
The victory was Johnson’s third within the non-points Conflict.
“Realizing the rain was coming — we might see it coming — and I knew that was in all probability my lap to make the transfer,” stated Johnson, who suffered via a winless 2018. “I had an important run down the again. I bought beneath him (Menard) earlier than he blocked it, after which he got here down just a little bit, I feel to defend and block.
“I bought that transfer inside him, and I used to be hopeful the 1 (Kurt Busch) would comply with me via, however I hate to see all these automobiles tore up. I feel it was a racing factor greater than something. I really feel sorry for Paul. I really feel sorry for all of the groups that misplaced race automobiles, however I’m right here to win races, and this Ally automobile was quick.”
Johnson’s victory got here in his first aggressive outing with new crew chief Kevin Meendering. Earlier on Sunday, Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron had claimed the pole place for the Daytona 500 in his first qualifying try with Johnson’s outdated crew chief, Chad Knaus.
“I did point out to Chad that he was in a position to win me my first pole right here for the 500, and he did the identical for William,” Johnson stated.
“I’m actually glad for these guys. With this group of Ally workforce members I’ve behind me, these guys have been working so laborious and we’re off to an important begin this 12 months.”
Kurt Busch, who was following Johnson on the backstretch, dodged the melee and completed second. Group Penske teammates Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney have been third and fourth, with Alex Bowman finishing the highest 5.
Menard had led 51 laps to that time within the No. 21 Wooden Brothers Ford and had managed the 20-car area from the top of the surface lane.
“Jimmie pulled out, and I form of moved down just a little bit, and the following factor I do know I get turned within the left rear,” Menard stated. “Simply aggressive. Jimmie does that loads at these tracks. I had a extremely quick Motorcraft/Fast Lane Ford Mustang. Led quite a lot of laps however tore up a automobile for no purpose.
“It was a fairly tame race up till that time. We knew that final restart (on Lap 48) was mainly a brand new race—just a little sprint for money to the top. It was undoubtedly anticipated. I’m shocked we really bought single-file up high once more after that final restart, however I knew one thing like that was going to occur. It was only a matter of time.”
- (13) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 59.
(19) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 59.
(7) Joey Logano, Ford, 59.
(8) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 59.
(5) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 59.
(9) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 59.
(16) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 59.
(18) Aric Almirola, Ford, 59.
(4) Ryan Newman, Ford, 59.
(10) Daniel Suarez, Ford, 58.
(11) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 58.
(6) Kevin Harvick, Ford, 57.
(1) Paul Menard, Ford, Accident, 55.
(2) Kyle Busch, Toyota, Accident, 55.
(12) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, Accident, 55.
(15) Clint Bowyer, Ford, Accident, 55.
(17) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, Accident, 55.
(3) Brad Keselowski, Ford, Accident, 55.
(14) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, Accident, 55.
(20) Erik Jones, Toyota, Accident, 55.