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William Byron wins at Daytona to qualify for the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs as Jimmie Johnson misses out – Yahoo Sports

William Byron is heading to the playoffs for the second time in his career.

Byron took the lead on a green-white-checker restart and held off multiple challenges over the final two laps to get the first Cup Series win of his career at Daytona on Saturday night.

Byron found himself mired deep in the field with less than 20 laps to go after he pitted for fresh tires during a caution. That turned out to be a great call. Byron was third before the pit stop and the team decided that fresh tires were worth the track position he had given up.

They were right.

Clint Bowyer also qualified for the playoffs Saturday night. Seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson and Erik Jones both missed as they were involved in crashes.” data-reactid=”24″ type=”text”>Matt DiBenedetto and Clint Bowyer also qualified for the playoffs Saturday night. Seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson and Erik Jones both missed as they were involved in crashes.

Kyle Busch for the lead. Reddick tried to move up in front of Busch and, well, he might not have been clear. Busch tried to check up to allow Reddick to get in front of him and ended up in the wall and chaos happened behind. Jones was running third at the time to Busch and Reddick when the wreck happened.” data-reactid=”29″ type=”text”>Jones crashed out of the race on lap 151 when Tyler Reddick passed Kyle Busch for the lead. Reddick tried to move up in front of Busch and, well, he might not have been clear. Busch tried to check up to allow Reddick to get in front of him and ended up in the wall and chaos happened behind. Jones was running third at the time to Busch and Reddick when the wreck happened.

Joey Logano passed Denny Hamlin for the lead with two scheduled laps to go. As Logano got in front of Hamlin, Bubba Wallace made a move for the lead on the outside. Hamlin bumped Logano’s car into Wallace’s and the field continued into turn 1 unscathed for a few seconds before all hell broke loose.” data-reactid=”30″ type=”text”>Johnson made it a few more laps. Joey Logano passed Denny Hamlin for the lead with two scheduled laps to go. As Logano got in front of Hamlin, Bubba Wallace made a move for the lead on the outside. Hamlin bumped Logano’s car into Wallace’s and the field continued into turn 1 unscathed for a few seconds before all hell broke loose.

Johnson was in the middle of that hell. He was positioned to make the playoffs without the crash, but he ended up finishing 17th as Byron got an automatic playoff berth with the win and DiBenedetto finished 12th.

Byron escaped that crash and restarted second when the race resumed. He pulled ahead of Denny Hamlin and then kept everyone else at bay.

William Byron celebrates his win in Daytona. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Seven-time champ is out

If Jimmie Johnson scored points in all 26 regular season races he would have easily made the playoffs.

However, he did not. He missed out on the playoffs by six points.

Johnson was disqualified from the Coca-Cola 600 in May after his car failed inspection after the race. He then missed the Brickyard 400 in July after testing positive for COVID-19. Had Johnson earned 30 points — conservatively — from those two races, he makes the playoffs over DiBenedetto. Easily.

Instead, he finds himself out of the playoffs for the second-straight season.

Johnson finished 18th a year ago after missing the playoffs for the first time in his career. Now, in his final full-time Cup Series season, he can do no better than 17th. Johnson hasn’t won a race since June of 2017 and is mired in the longest winless streak of his career. It should would be great to see him cap off his legendary career with a win in the last 10 races of the season. But it also doesn’t seem too likely either.

Johnson was asymptomatic when he got a COVID-19 test after his wife Chandra tested positive for the virus. Had Johnson decided his title pursuit was worth more than being truthful he could have easily not decided to get a test and attempt to keep racing. After all, NASCAR isn’t testing its participants for coronavirus.

Instead, Johnson was a good human and got a test. It came back positive. And he missed a race that helped cost him a playoff berth.

Ryan Newman not thrilled with Tyler Reddick

Ryan Newman was caught up in the crash that started when Reddick tried to block Busch. And he was not happy.

“The 8 car obviously just ran out of talent,” Newman said of the two-time Xfinity Series champion. “It seems like you can win a couple of Xfinity championships and still stick your head where the sun don’t shine when the time comes right.”

Newman needed to win on Saturday night to make the playoffs. He missed three races before NASCAR shut down in March because of the coronavirus pandemic after his horrific crash at the Daytona 500 in February. Saturday night’s race was the first on the Daytona oval layout since the 500.

Newman wasn’t near the front for much of the race but that’s how he tends to race at Daytona and Talladega anyway. He likes to bide his time before trying to go towards the front.

Playoff standings

Kevin Harvick, 2,057″ data-reactid=”66″ type=”text”>1. Kevin Harvick, 2,057

2. Denny Hamlin, 2,047

Brad Keselowski, 2,029″ data-reactid=”68″ type=”text”>3. Brad Keselowski, 2,029

4. Joey Logano, 2,022

5. Chase Elliott, 2,020

6. Martin Truex Jr., 2,014

7. Ryan Blaney, 2,013

8. Alex Bowman, 2,009

9. William Byron, 2,007

10. Austin Dillon, 2,005

11. Cole Custer, 2,005

12. Aric Almirola, 2,005

13. Clint Bowyer, 2,004

14. Kyle Busch, 2,003

15. Kurt Busch, 2,001

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