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Jimmie Johnson Crashes While Leading, William Byron Takes Stage 1 Win in NASCAR’s Return at Darlington

(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

It looked like seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson was mounting a return to victory lane as the 44-year old driver, who entered the day on a 99-race losing streak, impressed by taking the lead on lap 81 in Stage 1 of Sunday’s The Real Heroes 400 at Darlington Raceway.

On the final lap of the Stage, Johnson, who was leading, spun and slammed into the wall. Ending his bid for the Stage win, and ending his bid at erasing his 99-race winless drought as well.

William Byron, who won three of the virtual iRacing Pro Invitational events during the COVID-19 shut down, slipped by for the Stage win.

Denny Hamlin finished the Stage in second, Alex Bowman was third, Kevin Harvick ended up fourth and Brad Keselowski who started from the pole was fifth.

Aric Almirola, Clint Bowyer and rookie Tyler Reddick were sixth through eighth.

Meanwhile, Ryan Newman, who is making his return to racing after sustaining injuries in a frightening Daytona 500 crash ended the stage in ninth.

Chase Elliott rounded out the top-10 finishers in Stage 1.



Toby Christie View All

Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.

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