Denny Hamlin Wins 61st Daytona 500

Emotional 1-2-3 Finish For Joe Gibbs Racing

Scott Stiller
February 17, 2019 - 8:29 pm
FedEx Joe Gibbs Racing Driver Denny Hamlin Wins Daytona 500

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

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Daytona Beach, FL (93.7 The Fan) -- Denny Hamlin beat Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch by .138-seconds, in overtime, to win Sunday's Daytona 500.  The win was Hamlin's 2nd in The Great American Race in four years.

"Amazing job by this whole FedEx Joe Gibbs Racing team," said Hamlin in Victory Lane.  "I can't believe how many times I've been on the front row on the last restart at the Daytona 500.  I've always been in the bottom lane and I think I was 1-for-4 in those situations, but now I'm 2-for-5!"

Hamlin started on the outside of the front row on the restart in NASCAR overtime, which is two laps.  Busch chose the insde lane but the Joe Gibbs Racing teammates made a deal that when the green flag dropped, Hamlin would move to the inside and pick-up Busch and the two would draft together to get the lead and fight it out off the final corner on the last lap.

"It's awesome to see a JGR car in Victory Lane for Joe and (the late) J.D. and everthing that has gone on this off-season," said Busch referring to Gibb's 49-year-old son, J.D., who passed away from a Neurological Disorder.  "But it's certainly bittersweet for all of those that support us and for my team guys that are trying to get Victory Lane to get us our Daytona 500 win."

Why make such a deal if it's going to cost you a win?

"We were trying to at least protect one of our cars being able to get to Victory Lane," said Busch.  "I felt like we were able to do that by doing what we did on that last restart."

Not only did the Joe Gibbs Racing teammates secure Victory lane, they finished 1-2-3 as Erik Jones finished third.  It was the first 1-2-3 finish in the Daytona 500 for a race team since Hendrick Motorports in 1997 (Jeff Gordon, Terry Labonte, Ricky Craven).

Team Penske's Joey Logano finished fourth followed by Michael McDowell in fifth and Ty Dillon in sixth.

Chip Ganassi Racing's Kyle Larson rallied for a seventh place finish after cutting a tire and spinning earlier in the race to bring out a caution.  

Larson's teammates, Kurt Busch and Jamie McMurray, were involved in the race's second caution of the day. Slight contact by Ricky Stenhouse Jr. sent Busch spinning between turns 1 & 2, slightly damaging McMurray's Camaro in the process.  Busch and McMurray would pit for repairs, contine, and go on to finish 25th and 22nd respectively.  The race was McMurray's last for Ganassi as the 2010 Daytona 500 winner joins Fox Sports as an analyst.

The race featured 15-lead changes by 9-drivers and was slowed by 12-caution flags for 47-laps.

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to the Atlanta Motor Speedway for next weekend's Folds Of Honor Quik Trip 500.

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