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NASCAR Cup: Jimmie Johnson wins Clash

during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona International Speedway on February 10, 2019 in Daytona Beach, Florida.

By AMANDA VINCENT

Paul Menard dominated the Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway on Sunday, but Jimmie Johnson was up front when rain forced the abbreviation of the race from its scheduled 75-lap distance to 58 laps to take the exhibition-event win.

“I’m just really happy about, honestly, a great day for Hendrick Motorsports, for Chevrolet, for Ally coming on board and qualifying third for the Daytona 500, and then, to win the Clash. Kevin Meendering (crew chief) leading this team, there have been a lot of things going on,” Johnson said. “I’m extremely excited to win. It’s not a points race, but it’s a good start.”

Menard wound up 13th after contact with Johnson that sent Menard into the wall and collected most of the 20-car field. The caution for that incident on lap 55 continued until the rain-out red and checkered flag. By that point, Menard had set a new record for most laps led in the Clash — 51.

“I knew the rain was coming, so I was trying to set-up my move and make my run on the No. 21 (Menard) car,” Johnson said. “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 sideways, and it collected a bunch of cars.”

Kurt Busch was credited with second but questioned Johnson’s win after the race, claiming Johnson took his race-winning lead below the yellow line, a no-no in restrictor-plate races at Daytona and Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. His argument to NASCAR officials fell on deaf ears. The Team Penske duo of Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney finished third and fourth, and Alex Bowman rounded out the top-five.

Menard started on the pole as the result of a drawing on Saturday. By the time the red flag was displayed the second time for rain on lap 43, he had led 37 laps. When the race resumed, he continued up front until his incident with Johnson.

“Unfortunately, we just got turned, there,” Menard said. ”I didn’t really know what happened until I saw a replay. I felt like it was aggressive side-drafting. I got turned to the inside and hooked to the right, and all hell broke loose.”

The multi-car wreck just before the end of the race was the only on-track incident. Aside from yellow flags for rain, a scheduled competition caution came on lap 25.

Other top-10 finishers included Austin Dillon in sixth, Chase Elliott in seventh, Aric Almirola in eighth, Ryan Newman ninth and Daniel Suarez 10th. Finishing 11th through 20th were Jamie McMurray, Kevin Harvick, Menard, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Clint Bowyer, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson and Erik Jones.

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Posted by on February 10, 2019. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,Monster Energy NASCAR Cup,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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