Paul Menard led almost the entire race, but a combination of Mother Nature and an agressive move by Jimmie Johnson spelled a disappointing finish for Menard as it was Johnson who was declared the winner in a rain-shortened Advance Auto Care Clash.
The win marked a great day for Hendrick Motorsports, which picked up the Clash victory in addition to claiming the Daytona 500 pole position earlier in the day with Alex Bowman.
Rain brought the Clash to a halt twice, forcing drivers to become even more aggressive in the final restart with reports of approaching heavier rainfall. As the precipitation picked up and officials looked ready to call the race, Johnson attempted to pass on the lower side of Menard. Johnson’s 48-car made contact with Menard, spinning the lead car into the field behind him and taking out nearly the entire field.
After just a few minutes of driving under the caution, NASCAR officials called the race, and Johnson walked, rather than drove, into Victory Lane. The victory was Johnson’s first since his 2017 win at Dover. Kurt Busch and Joey Logano finished second and third.
Top 5: 1. Jimmie Johnson; 2. Kurt Busch; 3. Joey Logano; 4. Ryan Blaney; 5. Alex Bowman
NASCAR at Daytona: Race results, highlights from The Clash
Caution flags: 4
Lead changes: 4
Lap leaders: Paul Menard (52), Jimmie Johnson (4), Austin Dillon (3), Kyle Busch (1)
The green flag is scheduled for 3 p.m. ET. Live updates will begin at that time.
5:10 p.m.: Johnson explains his wreck-inducing move:
[email protected] shares his view of that incident with Paul Menard. pic.twitter.com/88cTXE9mnt
5:07 p.m. The race is over. Jimmie Johnson is declared the winner after 59 laps. It’s the first time in his last eight Clash races that he has finished.
It’s over. Jimmie Johnson wins The Clash. pic.twitter.com/Rtb8pjU75W
5:06 p.m. Red flag is out for more rain. Menard appears done.
What happened from Paul Menard’s view?
“Jimmie does that a lot at these tracks, so that’s unfortunate.” pic.twitter.com/FaZlqVhsP5
5:00 p.m.: Still sorting out wreck details. Johnson initiated the crash by clipping the back of Menard.
Absolute CARNAGE in the #AdvanceAutoClash NASCAR race this morning! 🏎🔥 Courtesy: @NASCAR pic.twitter.com/7aas8fdyEE
4:56 p.m.: Huge wreck as 14 of the 20 cars are damaged. Caution out. A clash indeed.
BIG WRECK! pic.twitter.com/CvFiXJUbLd
4:49 p.m.: Back under green. Medard first, Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch and Hamlin round out the top five.
Is today the day for Paul Menard?
He handles the restart once again! pic.twitter.com/t51ZI4sQQw
4:47 p.m.: Analysts on FS1 say next batch of rain is much heavier, and this could very well be the final restart of the day.
4:41 p.m.: Cars are rolling again. Back to yellow flag with Menard still in 1st with 30 laps remaining.
Cars are headed back to the track as drying continues. @DISupdates | @FS1 pic.twitter.com/HX7S7JqSlj
4:35 p.m.: Weather update: More rain for the next few hours.
4:35 PM ET update: Slight easing of rain @DISupdates but still under red flag. However, more rain behind this break. Working w/ @NASCAR_WXMAN monitoring #NASCAR #AdvanceAutoClash pic.twitter.com/w2UkCuPYbh
4:31 p.m.: Rain has picked up. The red flag is out for the second time today.
We’re back under the red flag with cars on pit road.
Stay tuned for the latest on @FS1 . pic.twitter.com/qNmxJiobQC
4:24 p.m.: Mother Nature forces the race’s third caution.
It’s raining once again… Caution’s out at @DISupdates . #SHRacing | #AdvanceAutoClash pic.twitter.com/MANyYnMgd2
4:22 p.m.: Halfway! 38 down, 37 to go. Race is official, regardless of any impending rain at this point.
4:17 p.m.: Menard retakes the lead as the green flag drops. Hamlin in second.
#PaulMenard leads the field through the #GEICORestartZone ! @GEICO | #AdvanceAutoClash pic.twitter.com/Q2PgVgKxFp
4:08 p.m.: Austin Dillon takes the lead.
Pit road just got VERY busy. Wow. 😳
Austin Dillon leads (did not pit) as caution comes out for the segment break.
Full leaderboard: https://t.co/ECSCHiClck pic.twitter.com/wMjMsh6x4i
4:06 p.m.: Aric Almirola has been penalized for speeding. Daniel Suarez penalized for crew over the wall too soon.
4:04 p.m.: All but five drivers pitted.
And it’s all but five cars hitting pit road! #AdvanceAutoClash | @DISupdates pic.twitter.com/bMP3RdjXOs
4:03 p.m.: The Lap 25 competitive caution is out. Menard leads with Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano in second and third.
3:53 p.m.: Full speed ahead. Back to green.
Back to green! pic.twitter.com/Qe4nE7Fn9Q
3:51 p.m.: Yellow caution is out as drivers have returned.
3:44 p.m.: Track is dried, helmets on, drivers back to their cars.
Make one last run to the fridge.
Drivers are headed back to their cars on @FS1 ! pic.twitter.com/yLpSmGw28G
3:29 p.m.: The red flag is out, but the skies look “promising.”
Light sprinkles @DISupdates brings out the caution. Rain showers are forecast thru afternoon & agree with @mikejoy500 – hoping for a brief caution – Working with @NASCAR_WXMAN #AdvanceAutoClash pic.twitter.com/dZdacmnYXS
3:21 p.m.: Rain brings the first caution after just nine laps.
Man … rain.
The radar is “promising” though according to @bobpockrass so we’ll be fine. #NASCARonFS1 leaderboard: https://t.co/3nJUZYfJbp pic.twitter.com/ovUqQuvU5l
3:14 p.m.: Here we go!
The first green flag of 2019! #AdvanceAutoClash | @DISupdates pic.twitter.com/XTN3M2WkSs
3:04 p.m.: The engines have started.
It’s almost time for the command! #AdvanceAutoClash pic.twitter.com/P9OXCA1Ccp
2:32 p.m.: A few last jokes just 30 minutes before their season starts!
We have no idea what #PaulMenard was saying but it sure made @joeylogano and @JimmieJohnson laugh! #AdvanceAutoClash pic.twitter.com/yjDdooiiV3
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