Jimmie Johnson wrecked on the final lap of the first segment of Saturday’s Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway.
It was the only caution of the first of three segments. Johnson had started from the back of the 18-car field and worked his way up to as high as second before the mishap occurred on Lap 30.
“I was trying to set up a pass on the 11 and work the air, and in the end I got turned around there,” he said.
TV replays showed that no other car made contact with Johnson, but that he simply lost the draft and took a hard left, eventually making contact with the inner retaining wall.
The man Johnson was trying to pass, Denny Hamlin, won the first segment.
Jamie McMurray led much of first half of the first segment before having to hit pit road to have tape applied to his car’s grill to reduce an overheating issue. Kyle Busch then took the lead.
Terry Labonte took his car to the garage after the 15th lap and retired from the race.
Tony Stewart fell to last on the 18-car grid after Labonte left the track, but then roared back, going from 17th to sixth in six laps.
Stewart also recorded the fastest speed of all drivers with a single-lap best of 200.3 mph.
Johnson had started in the back of the field and proceed to jump14 spots, from 18th (last) to third place by Lap 17.
Harvick took over lead on Lap 20, with Johnson right behind.
Danica Patrick also impressed, moving from 13th to third (Laps 18 to 21) before falling back.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. flirted near the front of the lead before falling back to 16th.
The second segment, 25 laps, just started.
The third and final segment will be 20 laps.
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