William Byron won the pole for this Sunday's Daytona 500.
It's a 75-lap exhibition race with a competition caution 25 laps in (unless a caution happens sooner) with 20 drivers in the field. It wasn't the rain, however, that will plastor the headlines following this race.
Maybe it was a combination of the cooler conditions, the lingering mist and the shorter field that made for so much single-file racing. He was greeted there by his father, who won a Cup race at Daytona in 2000, as Jeff Burton was the first to lean inside Burton's window.
Burton, driving the No. 20 DEX Imaging Toyota for vehicle owner Billy Venturini, decisively pulled away from runner-up Todd Gilliland (No. 4 Frontline Enterprises Toyota) on the 86th and final lap. While Johnson was able to keep stable and dive below the double-yellow line to avoid any potential wreck, Menard spun up the track, clipping Kyle Busch before collecting a wealth of cars. Second place Jimmie Johnson, with a feeling of urgency of impending rain, dove low.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson and veteran crew chief Chad Knaus showed one thing Sunday at Daytona International Speedway: They can be successful without each other. About twenty minutes later, the race resumed as Menard and the Team Penske trio of Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, and Ryan Blaney followed him behind.
Johnson said he and Knaus were developing a different type of relationship now that they're no longer working together as driver and crew chief. I got that move inside of him and was hopeful the 1 was going to be following me through. "I saw my move and I had to take it".
Johnson started the race in 13th place in his #48 Chevrolet and went on to win it after spinning out race leader Paul Menard, who started from the pole position, on lap 56, causing a massive crash that collected well over half of the 20 cars in the field. Kevin Meendering leading this team.
"It was putting some pressure on me", Johnson said. A few hours into the day, things got off to a good start as he qualified third for the Daytona 500. "Tore up a good auto for no good reason".
After the race was called, Fox Sports' Bob Pockrass was the first to inform that Jimmie Johnson had been declared the victor. Just as Knaus used qualifying to prove he's motivated in his new role, Johnson used the Clash to prove he's got a lot of fight left in him.
Kurt Busch drove a Ford past year with Stewart-Haas and now he's on the receiving end while driving a Chip Ganassi Chevrolet.