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Jimmie Johnson, seven other drivers switching to backup cars for Daytona 500 after qualifying crashes

Jimmie Johnson (48) collides with Daniel Suarez (19) and Aric Almirola, right, along the front stretch during the first of two qualifying races for the Daytona 500 on Feb. 15.
(Phelan M. Ebenhack / Associated Press)

Seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson and seven other drivers are switching to backup cars for the Daytona 500.

All of their No. 1 cars sustained damage in qualifying races Thursday. The group includes Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports teammate William Byron, 2012 Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson, Austin Dillon, Aric Almirola, Matt DiBenedetto and David Gilliland.

NASCAR also said Friday that Johnson, Keselowski, Almirola and DiBenedetto will swap engines.

NASCAR rules for Speedweeks mandate that any car that has an engine change not related to crash damage must start at the rear of the Daytona 500 and the next race in Atlanta. Since the engine changes are due to crash damage, none of those four will have to start at the back of the pack in Atlanta.

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