Watch Jimmie Johnson Trigger First Big Wreck Of NASCAR Season

Hendrick's Byron wins Daytona 500 pole

It may be the first Sunday without football, but on the bright side, it's the first Sunday of the NASCAR season.

Jimmie Johnson triggered a wreck that wiped out almost the entire field at Daytona and zipped to the lead to win the rain-shortened exhibition Clash on Sunday. They edged the other two Hendrick drivers: seven-time Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson and Chase Elliott. "I'm really happy about a great day for Hendrick Motorsports and Chevrolet".

Paul Menard led 51 laps and controlled the race interrupted multiple times for rain.

"Knowing the rain was coming-we could see it coming-and I knew that was probably my lap to make the move", said Johnson, who suffered through a winless 2018.

Yup, it's officially Speedweeks at Daytona.

"I got that move inside him, and I was hopeful the 1 (Kurt Busch) would follow me through, but I hate to see all these cars tore up".

Jimmie Johnson (48) speeds through as Paul Menard crashes Sunday afternoon at Daytona Int'l Speedway.

Most of the 20-car field was wiped out in a mammoth crash in an exhibition race at the iconic Daytona circuit in Florida on Sunday (Monday NZT).

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In the last five races (only going back that far because of all the vehicle and team changes since then) the average starting spot for the eventual victor has been 11.6 with the last victor from the pole being Denny Hamlin in 2014 and no one winnings from P2-P8 in that span (though they've been close).

Only four cars survived the race-ending crash without damage, with Johnson leading Kurt Busch, Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney across the finish line before the incoming rain washed out the final laps.

"Jimmie pulled out, and I kind of moved down a little bit, and the next thing I know I get turned in the left rear", Menard said.

The victory was Johnson's third in the non-points Clash.

"Just aggressive. Jimmie does that a lot at these tracks".

Though it wasn't a points-paying victory, Johnson said the performance was a huge shot in the arm for both he and new crew chief Kevin Meendering, who replaced Chad Knaus atop Johnson's pit box following the conclusion of last season.

"It was a pretty tame race up until that point".

For complete race results, advance to the next page.

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