DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Sunday at Daytona International Speedway, Jimmie Johnson’s Daytona 500 ended as a checkered flag waved. Unfortunately, it was long before the end of the race.
On the final lap of Stage 1, aggressive racing near the front of the pack caused a chain reaction that created a multiple-car incident.
The No. 48 Lowe’s for Pros Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 was among the cars involved.
“Unfortunately, many thought that was the black-and-white checkered flag and not the green-and-white checkered flag,” Johnson said. “Lap 59, to be throwing blocks and stuff like that, it's led to a lot of wrecked race cars.”
The resulting damage was enough to end Johnson’s day early.
“Just disappointed for this Lowe's team and everybody at Hendrick Motorsports for all the hard work they put into it,” he said.
Prior to the incident, Johnson said he saw “great racing” from the field – and the No. 48 Chevy certainly stood out.
Starting at the rear of the field in a backup car, it took Johnson just 30 laps to find the top 10. By Lap 35, he had raced all the way up to fourth.
He was battling in the outside lane to maintain a top-10 position and secure points as the first stage wound down before he was caught up in the chaos.
“It’s unfortunate it has turned out that way,” Johnson said, “but we will get this Lowe’s for Pro’s Chevy dialed in for Atlanta and go do it again.”
Johnson’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron was also involved in the incident, but the No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 took minimal damage and was able to stay on the track.
The Daytona 500 is currently being broadcast on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.