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Johnson wins wreck-shortened Clash at Daytona

13 February, 2019, 19:54 | Author: Candice Daniels
  • Hendrick's Byron wins Daytona 500 pole

William Byron climbs out of his vehicle after his qualifying run for the Daytona 500 auto race at Daytona International Speedway, Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019, in Daytona Beach, Fla.

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).

It was race number one for Johnson and his new crew chief Kevin Meendering, who came over from the Xfinity series, where he was the crew chief for perennial championship contender Elliott Sadler. Alright it's not fully back until next week when the Daytona 500 kicks off the season as far as points-races go, but that won't stop us from playing DFS for the Advance Auto Parts Clash as both Fanduel and DraftKings have contests for it.

"We still need a points race win to say we're back in victory lane", Johnson said.

"This group of Ally team members...have been working so hard and we're off to a good start", Johnson said. "We kind of got a warm-up last week when we tested in Vegas, so that was big for our communication and helped us tremendously". "The one thing that really sticks out to me is coming out of [Turn] 4 and looking up and seeing that no one has a huge run coming, and thinking, 'Wow, that really happened, ' and crossing the line and screaming my head off for a long time". "Cars drove well, communication has been well. Wish we could have got the pole, but nonetheless, it was a great effort by our team, and everything has been smooth". As Hendrick last season worked through a massive personnel consolidation, Chevrolet struggled with its NASCAR introduction of the Camaro and won just four of 36 Cup races.

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Kurt Busch, driving his first race for Chip Ganassi Racing, finished second while defending series champion Joey Logano of Team Penske was third.

"Into the week, I feel good". "There's a strong foundation there, and the team really works well together". So Johnson and Knaus remain close as they go through this transition together.

Johnson won on a day that was dominated by Hendrick Motorsports. Teammates William Byron and Alex Bowman locked in the front row for the Daytona 500 earlier in the day in qualifying. I think it was more a racing thing than anything.

"There's different pressures put on each team, and certainly outside pressures of -- somebody came up with a great idea of who's going to win first, Jimmie or Chad, and then the pressure, can we win again?"

Through this opening weekend, Knaus liked what he saw in Byron and how the young driver has been handling the new setting. "This is really special for me".


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