Jimmie Johnson Manages Late-Race Triumph in Rain-Soaked Daytona Clash Event

Hendrick's Byron wins Daytona 500 pole

Leading into Sunday, stories surrounding Jimmie Johnson concerned his potential to bounce back from a frustrating 2018 Monster Energy Cup Series campaign with new crew chief Kevin Meendering.

William Byron captured his first career pole in qualifying for the Daytona 500 to lead a Hendrick Motorsports charge of the four fastest cars.

The rules change signals a shift in a long-standing tradition of penalizing an offending race victor with fines, suspensions and/or points deductions, but allowing victories to stand.

The controversy with Johnson's move is that some believe the move was too aggressive, especially with about 15 laps to go. On the backstretch on lap 55, Johnson attempted to pass Menard on the inside and side-draft the #21, but made contact in the process.

"I looked in the mirror and there were a lot of cars caught up in it", Johnson said.

"I get to say when I'm done", Johnson said. "We're prepared. This is the first step of our process together". The last Daytona 500 pole-sitter to win the race was Dale Jarrett in 2000.

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One issue that was resolved during the offseason was the contentious relationship between Johnson and his crew chief, Chip Knaus. Even with rain on the way and the race likely being called within a few laps from the time of the incident. He had a discussion with a NASCAR official after the race, claiming Johnson took his lead by passing below the track's yellow line, an illegal move according to the NASCAR rule book.

Kurt Busch finished second, with Joey Logano in third, Ryan Blaney in fourth and Bowman in fifth. Wood was 93 and had been the oldest living member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame when he died last month after a long illness. I got that move inside of him and was hopeful the 1 (of Kurt Busch) was gonna be following me through.

Menard wasn't happy that he got bumped out of the race.

The other incident that gave Johnson the victory was a huge crash that he triggered that affected nearly every auto in the race. He was down at least 25 laps in five straight Clashes, and understands just how quickly a race at Daytona can change.

Little did they know what was about to happen before the final red flag that called the race. I got below him before he blocked it, and then I think he came down a little bit to defend and block.

This race was scheduled to be a 75-lap race around the four-turn, 2.5-mile (4.023-kilometer) high-banked Daytona International Speedway oval in Daytona Beach, Florida, but it was cut short to only 59 laps due to rain, which caused several caution flag periods throughout the race.

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