DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 16: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #84 Carvana Toyota, meets with his crew in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 16, 2024 in Daytona Beach, Florida.
(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Jimmie Johnson Experiences Rough Daytona 500

Jimmie Johnson might not be happy with how his Daytona 500 went, but it was still a significant race for the 7-time champion.

Johnson became the first active member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame to pilot a car in a NASCAR Cup Series race.

He could only watch William Byron's victory celebration, an experience he enjoyed twice in his career, from pit road as his day was over before it truly began.

Johnson got tangled up in a lap-six incident that damaged his No. 84 Carvana Toyota. The repairs caused him to lose several laps early from which he could not recover.

Though he was knocked out of contention for winning the race, his No. 84 team was able to keep him running.

Johnson spoke with Dan Gelston from the Associated Press about his night and 28th-place finish.

"I had hoped to race longer. It's a matter of time before you get caught up in something around here," Johnson said.

Though his race didn't fare well, his night was still special. Johnson is a co-owner of Legacy Motor Club and the team's two other entries, driven by Erik Jones and John Hunter Nemechek both survived the carnage and finished inside the top 10.

It was a welcomed result for Legacy Motor Club, in its first race with Toyota.

"Two top-10s on both cars, that's good stuff," Johnson said of Jones and Nemechek.

Johnson had plenty of perspective on the 2024 Daytona 500, as he also took a moment to react to the sight of William Byron's celebration.

And that meant a lot to him as he spent his final three full-time seasons at Hendrick Motorsports as a teammate to Byron and recalled a moment from several years ago.

"No joke, he was trick-or-treating at my house when he was a kid," Johnson said. "He handed me a little autograph card that said, 'Someday I'm going to be your teammate.' I tapped him on the head and said, 'Yeah, sure kid. Sure you are.' Now he just won the Daytona 500."

Though it was a rough night behind the wheel for Johnson, he had plenty of things to appreciate at the end of the day.

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