DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Sunday afternoon at Daytona International Speedway, 20 drivers – including Chase Elliott, Jimmie Johnson and Alex Bowman – hit the track for the first racing action of the season.
The Clash – the annual season-opening exhibition event – was scheduled for 75 laps, but rain forced an early end to the race.
When the race was called, Jimmie Johnson was in the lead and the seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion earned the win, his second career Clash victory and sixth career Speedweeks win.
“It feels good,” Johnson said. “Just really happy about obviously a great day for Hendrick Motorsports, for Chevrolet, for Ally coming on board and qualifying third for the Daytona 500 and then to win The Clash.”
The move to the lead resulted in a multiple-car incident behind the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.
“Knowing the rain’s coming, you can see it coming, I knew that was probably my lap to make the move and I had a great run down the back,” Johnson explained. “I’m here to win races, and this Ally car’s fast.
While Elliott and Bowman were caught in the incident, both were able to stay on the track with minimal damage.
Bowman was fifth and Elliott was seventh when the race was called, giving them both top-10 finishes in The Clash.
Johnson's win extended Hendrick Motorsports' streak to seven consecutive seasons with at least one Speedweeks win.
“It’s not a points race," Johnson said, "but it’s a good start.”
Below is a closer look at how the Hendrick Motorsports teammates fared in Sunday afternoon’s exhibition.
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 MOUNTAIN DEW TEAM RUBICON CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Starting The Clash at the rear of the field in a backup car, Elliott gradually began to make his way forward through the pack before rain brought up the first red flag of the race after just eight laps.
- Elliott headed to pit road once the race returned to a caution and continued to push forward when the green flag dropped once again. Following a competition caution after Lap 25, Elliott was as high as eighth for the Lap 33 restart.
- After a second red flag due to rain, Elliott headed to pit road before the race went green once again and lined up 19th for the restart.
- With 20 laps to go, Elliott was involved in a multiple-car incident but was able to stay on the track. When the race was called due to rain shortly thereafter, Elliott earned a seventh-place finish.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 ALLY CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Rolling off the grid 13th, Johnson remained inside the top 15 after 25 laps and a competition caution on the track.
- When the race went green once again on Lap 33 after the competition caution, Johnson was lined up seventh. He quickly helped form an outside lane and jumped up to fourth.
- Following a second red flag for rain, Johnson restarted fourth when the race resumed and quickly moved up to second, settling in line on the outside.
- With 20 laps to go, Johnson made a move on the leader in an attempt to pass, but contact resulted in a multiple-car incident that affected much of the field. Johnson emerged in the race lead, and when the race was called due to rain, he earned the win.
ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 88 NATIONWIDE CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Bowman led his Hendrick Motorsports teammates to the green flag in fifth, and within just three laps he had moved up to third.
- On Lap 15, Bowman got caught in an inside lane while the rest of the field formed a single-file line on the outside. The No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 dropped back to 16th in the exchange.
- Bowman stayed on the track until a competition caution waved while many competitors headed to pit road early. That temporarily moved him up to second before he made a pit stop under caution.
- On the other side of a second red flag due to rain, Bowman headed to pit road and lined up 20th for the ensuing restart.
- With 20 laps to go, Bowman was involved in a multiple-car incident but was able to remain on the track with minimal damage. Shortly thereafter, the race was called due to rain and Bowman earned a fifth-place finish.