Jimmie Johnson triggers wreck, then wins Clash at Daytona

Chase Elliott won the 2016 Xfinity season opener for JR Motorsports. More

Hendrick Motorsports president Rick Hendrick thought that a change was necessary, and moved Knaus to driver William Byron. His bigger goal is to make the starting spot pay dividends for the NASCAR powerhouse.

The green flag waved on lap 28 with Menard and Blaney on the front row, though action only lasted for eleven laps until rain returned to Daytona International Speedway. They comprise the youngest front row in Daytona 500 history.

In the last five races (only going back that far because of all the auto 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).

To be eligible, drivers must meet one of five criteria: past Daytona 500 winners and past Daytona 500 pole winners who raced full-time last season, previous Clash winners who raced full-time a year ago, pole winners from last season and drivers who qualified for the playoffs in 2018.

The last four - Hendrick's Jeff Gordon, Chase Elliott (twice) and Bowman - have failed to notch a top-10 finish.

"It's been a pretty awesome day", Hendrick said. "This is the deal to sit on the pole at Daytona".

"Knowing the rain was coming you could see it coming and I knew that was my lap to make the move I had a great run down the back", Johnson said.

Knaus and Johnson landed the Daytona 500 pole in their first race together in 2002.


"I get to say when I'm done", Johnson said. I'm not sure if just the air breaking his bumper plane pulled his auto over or if he was late to block, but it was just really a racing thing, honestly.

Byron's lap of 194.305 miles per hour was the one that earned him the top spot for next Sunday's 61st running of the Daytona 500. "I got turned to the inside and hooked to the right and all hell broke loose".

"Yeah, this is great to have all four Hendrick cars qualify one through four, us in third with the Ally Chevy, and, then, to have a very competitive race here today". Thirty-six of those spots are already filled because of NASCAR's charter system.

Tyler Reddick and Casey Mears locked themselves in the Daytona 500.

"It's no different than an National Football League team when you've got a really good coach and a really good quarterback and a really good team, but for some reason it is exhausted and you need a spark", Hendrick said.

Rookie Daniel Hemric rounded out the top five.

Joey Gase, Ryan Truex, Parker Kligerman and Brandan Gaughan likely will have to race their way into the 500 during the qualifying races.

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