Johnson wins crash-marred, rain-shortened Clash

Chase Elliott won the 2016 Xfinity season opener for JR Motorsports. More

Chase Elliott won the 2016 Xfinity season opener for JR Motorsports. More

"Knowing the rain's coming".

Most of the 20-car field was wiped out in a mammoth crash in an exhibition race at the iconic Daytona circuit in Florida on Sunday (Monday NZT).

"We had a really fast Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Mustang and led a lot of laps, but I'm bummed we tore up a new auto for no reason".

"I have a split-second decision to try to win a race, and I set up the pass and got position on him clean", Johnson told AP. Teammates William Byron and Alex Bowman locked in the front row for the Daytona 500 earlier in the day in qualifying.

"I looked in the mirror and there were a lot of cars caught up in it", Johnson told AP.

Though it wasn't a points-paying victory, Johnson said the performance was a huge shot in the arm for both he and new crew chief Kevin Meendering, who replaced Chad Knaus atop Johnson's pit box following the conclusion of last season. "With this group of Ally team members I have behind me, these guys have been working so hard and we're off to a great start this year".

Kurt Busch, who was following Johnson on the backstretch, dodged the melee and finished second.

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The points this week will be far lower than standard races since it's only 75 laps long and that means there's a total of 56.25 bonus points in DK available across the field and in FD there are just 15 points for laps led and laps completed total.

"Jimmie pulled out, I moved down a little bit and the next thing I knew, I was getting turned in the left-rear (tire)", said Menard. "Jimmie does that a lot at these tracks". I had a really fast Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Mustang. "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".

"It was a pretty tame race up until that point. It was just a matter of time".

Time of Race: 1 Hrs, 20 Mins, 1 Secs. Margin of Victory: Under Caution Seconds.

Lap Leaders: P. Menard 0;K. Busch 1;P. Menard 2-24;A. Dillon 25-27;P. Menard 28-55;J.

Even though it's a limited number of laps in the sample we're using, two drivers have broken the 95+ laps led mark and no one else in this field is over 30 laps led in that same time frame and those two drivers account for three of the last five wins as well.

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