Daytona 500: Jimmie Johnson Drive for Six Pack Starts with Pack Wreck

Hank EptonCorrespondent IFebruary 21, 2011

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 20:  Marcos Ambrose, driver of the #9 Stanley Ford, David Reutimann, driver of the #00 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota, Brian Vickers, driver of the #83 Red Bull Toyota, Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet, and Mark Martin, driver of the #5 Chevrolet, are involved in an incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 20, 2011 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
John Harrelson/Getty Images

Jimmie Johnson's quest to make history again with six straight Sprint Cup titles began with a bang.


The 2011 Speedweeks were quiet for Johnson, rarely making his way to the top of the leader board over the last eight days and not even topping the speed charts.

Starting 23rd, Johnson had already seen 2010 championship contender Kevin Harvick fall by the wayside with engine woes, on a day when many of the top contenders were eliminated. The shoe was bound to drop.

On lap 29, Johnson was on the inside when a 17-car melee broke out in the middle of turns three and four, ruining his day.

His right fender clipped the No. 17 car of Matt Kenseth, compromising the aerodynamics that are the prerequisite for Daytona speed.

After that, the most successful driver over the last five years in NASCAR was reduced to turning laps.

Finishing 19 laps down to winner Trevor Bayne, Johnson managed to come home with a 27th place finish.

He currently resides in 25th place in points.

The concern with the new points system has been that it would make it a more difficult proposition than ever to bounce back after a bad points day, and Johnson may become the test case.

Johnson isn't alone. He's one of six 2010 Chase for the Sprint Cup drivers who now reside outside the top 20 in points thanks to a disaster at Daytona.