Jimmie Johnson, who had crashed in the past six running of the Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona International Speedway, found a way to win the 2019 version of the season-opening exhibition race-by helping to trigger a wreck that eliminated almost everyone else.
It may be the first Sunday without football, but on the bright side, it's the first Sunday of the NASCAR season.
Moments later, the skies opened up and hard rain officially drew an end to the Clash, which was shortened to 59 laps due to the inclement weather.
Johnson, naturally, defended himself while the race was under red flag because of the rain. I got that move inside of him and was hopeful the 1 was going to be following me through.
Johnson had turned a few extra laps at Daytona - with the 48 in the garage.More news: Cardi B the first woman to win best rap album Grammy
"I think it was more of a racing thing than anything", Johnson added.
"I looked in the mirror and there were a lot of cars caught up in it", Johnson told AP. "I feel sorry for Paul and all the cars that got torn up, because you never want to see that happen, but I'm here to win races".
But Johnson put the blame with then race leader Paul Menard - who, of course, felt Johnson caused the crash. I think he came down a little bit to defend and block.
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).
"Just aggressive. Jimmie does that a lot at these tracks".More news: Leicester City look to end winless streak against Tottenham Hotspur
Alex Bowman was scored fifth among the drivers involved in the carnage, followed by Chase Elliott, Austin Dillon, Aric Almirola, Ryan Newman and Daniel Suarez.
Sunday's effort was Johnson's second-career Clash win and first since 2005, when the race was still known as the Budweiser Shootout.
The rain that ended the race hit not long after the decisive move and Johnson won for the first time with new crew chief Kevin Meendering and new primary sponsor Ally.
"This feels really good", noted Johnson. Johnson took the lead in his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet and was declared the victor after NASCAR red-flagged the race because of rain for the third time.
"It was a pretty tame race up until that point".More news: Director Bala releases a statement on Varmaa fiasco