Byron claims first NASCAR Cup win at Daytona, Johnson misses play-offs

William Byron clinched his first NASCAR Cup victory at Daytona as a late race crash denied seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson a place in the playoffs

Byron, Johnson and Matt DiBenedetto, the three drivers on the bubble in the fight to get into the Round of 16 as the field arrived at Daytona, all managed to avoid the first of three multi-car incidents in the closing stages of the race.

Tyler Reddick, who needed a victory to secure his place in the playoffs, had only just taken the race lead when he drifted into the fence trying to block Kyle Busch.

The incident prompted contact between Busch and Erik Jones, and the pair collected multiple cars as they were spun around.

Involved in the incident was Austin Dillon, who had climbed up from the back of the grid after inspection failures, and Ryan Newman, who was involved in a serious accident at the circuit in the Daytona 500.

Denny Hamlin led on the restart and it quickly became a familiar battle for the lead as Joey Logano climbed up to second.

Logano's car looked loose and, when Bubba Wallace tried to pass around the outside, the Team Penske racer couldn't hold on and drifted backwards.

He was spun around as he made contact with DiBenedetto and collected multiple drivers.

DiBenedetto was able to continue running, but Johnson suffered heavy damage to the front of his car and dropped back down the order.

Byron had managed to avoid most of the drama and snatched the race lead just as the accident unfolded behind him.

As the race went into overtime, Byron battled with Martin Truex Jr for the race lead.

Further down the order, another incident, this time six cars, disrupted the order on the final lap, but the track stayed green, allowing Byron to come home to take his first win from 98 race starts.

Truex dropped back to fourth on the final lap as Chase Elliott took second and Hamlin completed the top three.

DiBenedetto was running fifth at the final restart but was involved in the last lap incident and dropped down to 12th. He was able to take the chequered flag, though, and finished ahead of Johnson. The result secured his position in the round of 16.

Wallace took fifth, his best result of the season, ahead of Ryan Blaney and Alex Bowman.

Brendan Gaughan, Chris Buescher and Brad Keselowski completed the top 10.

Harvick heads into the playoffs with a 10 point advantage over Hamlin, with Keselowski a further 18 points back.

NASCAR Cup Daytona results - 164 laps

Pos Driver Team Car
1 William Byron Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
2 Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
3 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
4 Martin Truex Jr. Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
5 Darrell Wallace Jr. Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet
6 Ryan Blaney Team Penske Ford
7 Alex Bowman Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
8 Brendan Gaughan Beard Motorsports Chevrolet
9 Chris Buescher Roush Fenway Racing Ford
10 Brad Keselowski Team Penske Ford
11 John Hunter Nemechek Front Row Motorsports Ford
12 Matt DiBenedetto Wood Brothers Racing Ford
13 Christopher Bell Leavine Family Racing Toyota
14 Michael McDowell Front Row Motorsports Ford
15 Brennan Poole Premium Motorsports Chevrolet
16 Ross Chastain Spire Motorsports Chevrolet
17 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
18 Aric Almirola Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
19 Clint Bowyer Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
20 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
21 Corey LaJoie Go FAS Racing Ford
22 Ty Dillon Germain Racing Chevrolet
23 Quin Houff StarCom Racing Chevrolet
24 Timmy Hill MBM Motorsports Toyota
25 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
26 Daniel Suarez Gaunt Brothers Racing Toyota
27 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford
28 Matt Kenseth Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
29 Tyler Reddick Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
30 Cole Custer Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
31 Joey Gase Rick Ware Racing Ford
32 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet
33 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
34 Kurt Busch Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
35 Erik Jones Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
36 Ryan Newman Roush Fenway Racing Ford
37 Ryan Preece JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet
38 Josh Bilicki Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet
39 James Davison Petty Ware Racing Ford
40 J.J. Yeley Rick Ware Racing Chevrolet

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