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Jimmie Johnson’s Wild Daytona Kick Off Starts With A Marathon, Ends With A Clash Win.

Seven time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson started off his Daytona 500 weekend with a really long race… on foot.

Forty-three-year-old Johnson, along with many of the sports top stars, participated in a half-marathon before heading to Daytona International Speedway to suit up for qualifying for the biggest event in stock car racing. Johnson knocked out a solid 1:33 time, averaging a solid 7-minute per mile over the 13-mile course.

Johnson, who has two Daytona 500 wins to his credit, would go on to qualify 3rd for this year’s race after spending the morning completing the grueling half-marathon. He will start the 500 from the second row, behind youngsters William Byron and Alex Bowman, both of whom are Johnson’s Hendrick Motorsports teammates.

Byron and Bowman’s front row pairing is locked in for the 500, while the remaining positions will be determined during Thursday night’s Gander Mountain RV Duels, the pair of 150-mile races that will air later this week on FS1.

Johnson may very well be hard for many fans to find as he enters his first season without Lowes on his car. The home improvement giant decided it had had enough of NASCAR after last season, so we will get our first look at Johnson’s Ally Financial livery, and also marks his first race without longtime crew chief Chad Knaus, who was paired with Byron for 2019, while Johnson would be joined by Kevin Meendering.

Johnson already started the year off on a positive note after taking the win in the Advance Auto Parts clash. Contact between Johnson and leader Paul Menard sent Menard spinning while Johnson took the lead just before rains halted the racing.

You can catch the 150-mile duels on Thursday night, where the final qualifying order will be set for Sunday’s Daytona 500, which will air on Fox at 2:30 pm eastern time.