William Byron wins Daytona pole as Hendrick Motorsports dominates qualifying

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In NASCAR at the Daytona 500 qualifying at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida 21-year old William Byron won the Daytona 500 pole.

Johnson won on a day that was dominated by Hendrick Motorsports.

He added, "If you can get a few cars to commit with you, you can make it happen".

In a controversial and rain-shortened Clash at Daytona, Jimmie Johnson unofficially ends his winless streak and takes home the first checkered flag of the NASCAR season.

Rick Hendrick was telling the truth when he insisted this year was going to be much improved from last season, the worst in team history. Sunday's performances answered that question.

The Hendrick cars were mediocre at best - Johnson failed to win for the first time in his Cup career - and it took 22 races for the organization to get its first victory. "The thing that I think a lot of people don't understand is... yes, we have a very fast racecar. You don't want to take a chance of tearing up a really good auto, but you've got to figure out what to race". "It's a great first step today".

This year's Clash boasted a 20-driver field, with the previous season's pole winners joined by past Clash winners, past Daytona 500 winners and polesitters, and the playoff drivers from the previous season. The cars utilize the same restrictor plate package that is used in the Daytona 500 next week and the track is the same 2.5-mile layout Daytona always is, so the only real changes is the race length and having about half as many cars starting the race as normal.

Following 17 years together, a legendary pairing of crew chief Chad Knaus and driver Jimmie Johnson split to start the 2019 season.

The controversy with Johnson's move is that some believe the move was too aggressive, especially with about 15 laps to go. "You know, it's a transition for both of us, and we're both working through it on the professional side". We had a great qualifying effort.

Knaus' and Byron's pole didn't come with the controversy that accompanied Johnson's victory. Menard led more laps than anybody in the field with 51 laps led before he was involved in the lap 56 wreck.

After the crash on lap 56, the rain fell and brought out the 3rd red flag of the race for weather, at which point, NASCAR elected to call the 75 lap race complete after lap 59. When rain once again began pouring, NASCAR elected to declare the race official. "I can't put it into words", Harrison Burton said. "I wanted to do a insane burnout but I wanted to take it in".

"Jimmie's a seven-time champion, I got a lot of respect for him". Johnson didn't deny it. "We work good together". "That's what we do". "The moment you can break that plane, it's wonderful how much these cars get drug back versus cars in the past". "So I guess, guilty". NASCAR disagreed and Johnson kept the victory.