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Jimmie Johnson wins season-opening Clash at Daytona

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Jimmie Johnson celebrates in Gatorade Victory Lane after winning the Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona International Speedway. Photo: Chris Tello / The Sky Boat

 

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Jimmie Johnson won Sunday’s Advance Auto Clash at Daytona, but it was not without controversy.

On lap 55, while entering the third turn, Jimmie Johnson got a run on leader Paul Menard. Menard moved down the track into Johnson and bounced off Johnson into the outside wall in front of the field.

“I knew the rain was coming, so I was trying to set-up my move and make my run on the No. 21 car,” Johnson said about the incident after climbing out of his car in Gatorade Victory Lane.

“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 sideway and it collected a bunch of cars.”

Johnson assumed the lead after the incident and led the final 5 laps under caution before heavy rain soaked the 2.5-mile superspeedway.

Kurt Busch finished second in his first season with Chip Ganassi Racing. Joey Logano, the 2017 Clash Winner, finished third. Ryan Blaney finished fourth and Alex Bowman finished fifth in his Clash debut. Only 3 of the 20 entries were listed as not being involved in the incident (Ku. Busch, Logano, Blaney).

The race was slowed by weather twice and once for the scheduled caution on lap 25.

The NASCAR action will return to Daytona International Speedway on Thursday (Feb. 14) for the Gander RV Duel, which will determine the starting spots (minus the front row) for the 61st Annual Daytona 500 which will occur on February 17th.

 

 

Matt Courson View All

Matt Courson is the Managing Editor for The Racing Experts. Courson has covered NASCAR events at 19 of the 23 active racetracks. When not at the track, the 20-year-old Journalism major enjoys spending time with family and playing Ingress.

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