He opened this chapter of his career the same way: winning the pole with Byron in their first race together at the Daytona 500. He loves the historical significance and the present message about their preparation for the season's biggest race.
Johnson triggered a wreck that wiped out almost the entire 20-car field at Daytona and zipped to the lead to win the rain-shortened exhibition Clash on Sunday.
Despite it being a win, it doesn't have the same feel for Jimmie as a points race Cup win. He also won the Sunoco Rookie of the Year award for the 2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season, while setting the rookie record with seven wins.
Hendrick Motorsports also had the third and fourth position in qualifying, as well.
Once again, it seems like the only cars that could make headway on the bottom were the Penske Fords, when that group was led by Joey Logano. Other leaders included Eckes, who led 9 laps from pole, Gus Dean (No. 32 CAB Installers Chevrolet), who led 29 laps. Both will lead the dual qualifying races for the 500 Thursday.
And that was before Johnson bulldozed his way into victory lane. They had a lot of guys that weren't pole winners (in the field on Sunday).
Credit Jonathan Ferrey Getty Images
"It's really good for Chad to come out of the box with he and William to sit on the front row, " Hendrick said.
"You know, points races are different, but we'll take this". He also finished outside the top 10 in this event past year, so there are far better values to be had on Sunday than the 10-1 premium you'll have to pay for him. Coming off a 2018 season with only two top-five finishes, Johnson is running on a 59-race winless streak.
Twenty drivers comprised the exhibition race's field, most of whom won a pole during the 2018 season.
"Couldn't ask for a better way to start the year, " Meendering said. Maybe drivers were tip-toeing around the 1.5-mile speedway, creating a rainy conditions, and this will mean nothing come next Sunday. And he made no apologies for the close-quarter racing in the Clash that resulted in his first victory since June, 2017, at Dover, Del. "It would have been great to get up there and race Harrison tonight but I think what I learned will be a huge help when we get back here in the Truck next week". Just as Knaus used qualifying to prove he's motivated in his new role, Johnson used the Clash to prove he's got a lot of fight left in him. The first of only two cup races to be held at the Daytona International Speedway each year, this event has become a household name. "The thing that I think a lot of people don't understand is... yes, we have a very fast racecar". What a great day for Chevrolet, our organization, and these drivers. Builds confidence for myself and the team, and hopefully we can get it done again next weekend. Patreon allows readers to make small monthly contributions to RaceDayCT that support the ongoing coverage of short track racing.
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