Feb 15, 2014, 9:10 PM EDT
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.
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.
Follow me @JerryBonkowski
Video from NASCAR America
- Gene Haas’ F1 team changes team name, launches new pages 3
- Cindric proposes IndyCar champion Will Power will run No. 1 in 2015 2
- NASCAR AMERICA: Assessing Tony Stewart’s return at Atlanta (VIDEO) 1
- Feelin’ free: Frustrations end for Chase-bound Kahne, IndyCar champ Power 3
- Honda preps for first simulations, expresses confidence it can match Mercedes 5
- Kenseth clinches Chase berth; Bowyer falls out of Grid with one race to go 1
- Kasey Kahne rallies in last 2 laps to win at Atlanta, makes Chase 1