The seven-time Cup Series champion didn’t secure a race season for the first time in his career but a dose of aggression put him back at the first weekend of Speedweeks into victory lane. Johnson’s win lasted a banner for Hendrick Motorsports, as teammates William Byron and Alex Bowman secured in front row for the Daytona 500 before in the afternoon .

Paul Menard led 51 laps and commanded a race which has been interrupted multiple times to get rain. With rain looming, Johnson dipped low and tried to Menard since they battled for the lead. But Johnson switched Menard and started a chain reaction accident which left cars sideways and smoking behind the No. 48 .

“Recognizing that the rain’s coming. I could see it coming,” Johnson stated. “We can see it coming and that I knew which was probably my lap to make the move and also I had a terrific run down the back. Before he blocked him I received below him. I believe he came a little bit block and to defend . I obtained that move inside of him was convinced that the 1 was going to be following me . Certainly hate to see every one of these automobiles wrapped up.”

The rain which ended the race hit after the critical move and Johnson won together with brand new crew chief Kevin Meendering and primary host Ally for the first time.

Johnson had turned a few extra laps at Daytona — with the 48 from the garage. He finished first in his 40 to 44 era division early Sunday at the Daytona Beach half an hour with a period of 1 hour, 34 minutes, 18.4 seconds.