Denny Hamlin wins wreck-filled Daytona 500: NASCAR

by Samuel Abasi Posted on February 18th, 2019

Denny Hamlin won the Daytona 500 for the second time in four years, leading a 1-2-3 sweep for Joe Gibbs Racing. The victory on Sunday was a fine tribute to JD Gibbs, who died last month after battling a degenerative neurological disease. JD Gibbs co-founded the race team with his father and discovered Hamlin. Hamlin said when he arrived at Daytona International Speedway that both the 500 and this season were dedicated to JD Gibbs.

Kyle Busch finished second and Erik Jones was third as the Gibbs drivers held off Ford driver and reigning Nascar champion Joey Logano’s frantic push in overtime.

The race was stopped twice for nearly 40 minutes for a flurry of late accidents. There were five wrecks in the final 20 laps of regulation and only 14 cars finished on the lead lap. Paul Menard triggered the biggest wreck, a 21-car crash shortly after a restart with 10 laps to go. Menard turned Matt DiBenedetto, who slammed into the wall and started a chain-reaction that collected more than two dozen cars. It brought out a red flag that stopped the race for a lengthy cleanup. Menard admitted he was responsible: “I’ll take the blame for that one.” Defending Daytona 500 champion Austin Dillon, Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney, Aric Almirola and Daniel Suarez were among those involved in the mess. Almirola seemingly had the wildest ride, his back wheels getting lifted off the pavement and landing on David Ragan’s windshield.

Logano was fourth, followed by Michael McDowell. Ty Dillon was sixth in the highest-finishing Chevrolet. Hamlin last year suffered through his first winless season in the Cup Series and made a crew chief change during the offseason. When he won the 500 in 2016 it was his debut race with crew chief Mike Wheeler, and this victory came in his first race with Chris Gabehart.

DAYTONA 500 RESULTS

Sunday from the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway (starting position in parentheses):

1. (10) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 207.

2. (31) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 207.

3. (28) Erik Jones, Toyota, 207.

4. (4) Joey Logano, Ford, 207.

5. (34) Michael McDowell, Ford, 207.

6. (22) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 207.

7. (26) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 207.

8. (21) Ryan Preece, Chevrolet, 207.

9. (17) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 207.

10. (36) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 207.

11. (2) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 207.

12. (35) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 207.

13. (5) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 207.

14. (19) Ryan Newman, Ford, 207.

15. (25) Parker Kligerman, Toyota, 205.

16. (20) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 205.

17. (18) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, Accident, 200.

18. (32) Corey LaJoie, Ford, 200.

19. (38) BJ McLeod, Chevrolet, 200.

20. (6) Clint Bowyer, Ford, Accident, 199.

21. (1) William Byron, Chevrolet, Accident, 198.

22. (16) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, Accident, 198.

23. (30) Brendan Gaughan, Chevrolet, Accident, 197.

24. (27) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, Accident, 196.

25. (12) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 196.

26. (3) Kevin Harvick, Ford, Accident, 194.

27. (39) Tyler Reddick, Chevrolet, Accident, 191.

28. (9) Matt DiBenedetto, Toyota, Accident, 190.

29. (7) Paul Menard, Ford, Accident, 190.

30. (24) David Ragan, Ford, Accident, 190.

31. (14) Ryan Blaney, Ford, Accident, 190.

32. (8) Aric Almirola, Ford, Accident, 190.

33. (23) Daniel Suarez, Ford, Accident, 190.

34. (29) Daniel Hemric, Chevrolet, Accident, 190.

35. (11) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, Accident, 190.

36. (33) Matt Tifft, Ford, Accident, 190.

37. (15) Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, Accident, 190.

38. (13) Bubba Wallace, Chevrolet, Accident, 169.

39. (37) Cody Ware, Chevrolet, Accident, 155.

40. (40) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, Accident, 104.

RACE STATISTICS

Average Speed of Race Winner: 137.44 mph.

Time of Race: 3 houts, 45 minutes, 55 seconds,

Margin of Victory: .138 seconds.

Caution Flags: 12 for 47 laps.

Lead Changes: 15 among 9 drivers.

Lap Leaders: W. Byron 1-2; R. Stenhouse Jr. 3-6; M. DiBenedetto 7-21; K. Busch 22; R. Stenhouse Jr. 23-34; K. Busch 35-61; J. Logano 62-72; D. Hemric 73; M. DiBenedetto 74-107; K. Busch 108; R. Blaney 109-121; W. Byron 122-163; J. McMurray 164-169; D. Hamlin 170-190; K. Busch 191-198; D. Hamlin 199-207.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): Matt DiBenedetto 2 times for 49 laps; William Byron 2 times for 44 laps; Kyle Busch 4 times for 37 laps; Denny Hamlin 2 times for 30 laps; Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 2 times for 16 laps; Ryan Blaney 1 time for 13 laps; Joey Logano 1 time for 11 laps; Jamie McMurray 1 time for 6 laps; Daniel Hemric 1 time for 1 lap.

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