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Jimmie Johnson Crashes Way to Win in Rain-Marred Clash at Daytona

MARTINSVILLE, VA – MARCH 24: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s for Pros Chevrolet, sits in his car during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 24, 2018 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)

By Toby Christie         

Well, that’s one way to win a race.

After nearly two years of frustration, Jimmie Johnson outlasted a couple of red flags for rain, and triggered a late-race melee, which crashed 16 of the 20 cars in the Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona field to win the race.

On what turned out to be the final green flag lap of the race — as rain halted the race for good at lap 59 — Johnson pulled to the inside of Paul Menard, who had dominated the race. Johnson administered a very tight side draft on Menard, and the two made contact that sent Menard skidding across the track in front of the field.

This win marks Johnson’s second-career win in the Clash, his other victory came in 2005.

“Just really happy about obviously a great day for Hendrick Motorsports and Chevrolet for Ally coming on board and qualifying third for the Daytona 500 and then winning the Clash,” Johnson said in victory lane. “Kevin Meendering leading this team. There has been a lot of new things going on. Extremely excited to win.”

While Johnson was excited about the good start to his new relationship with crew chief Kevin Meendering, Menard was left shaking his head.

“Yeah just — yeah okay. Jimmie does that a lot at these tracks,” Menard said after seeing the replay. “It’s unfortunate. Had a really fast Motorcraft / Quick Lane Ford Mustang and tore up a really good car for no reason.”

Menard led 51 of the race’s 59 laps before being tossed aside by Johnson’s race-winning move. Menard would finish 13th.

Kurt Busch finished the race in second. Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney and Alex Bowman rounded out the top-five finishers in the 2019 Clash.

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