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NASCAR Cup: Denny Hamlin wins second Daytona 500

during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series 61st Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 17, 2019 in Daytona Beach, Florida.

By AMANDA VINCENT

After a winless 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, Denny Hamlin began the 2019 season with his second Daytona 500 win Sunday night. The latest win by the driver of the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota capped off a race in which Joe Gibbs honored J.D. Gibbs, team founder and son of owner Joe Gibbs, who passed away last month. The No. 11 car was the JGR livery most closely associate with the late Gibbs.

“The whole (Gibbs) family – they did so much for me over the course of my career. This one is for J.D.,” Hamlin said. “We are desperately going to miss him the rest of our lies. His legacy still lives on through Joe Gibbs Racing and proud to do this for them.”

Joe Gibbs Racing finished one-two-three in Sunday’s race, with Kyle Busch taking runner-up honors after running with Hamlin up front in the closing laps, and Erik Jones finishing third.

Hamlin and Busch led 30 and 37 laps, respectively, in the race that was scheduled for 200 laps but was extended by a 12th caution that came out on lap 198. Hamlin and Busch took the top-two spots in the running order with about 30 laps to go, and each of the teammates led laps over the course of the remainder of the race. They continued to maintain their positions through three restarts inside the final 10 laps, including two that followed red-flag stoppages because of multi-car crashes.

The biggest wreck of the race came on lap 190 when Paul Menard made contact with Matt DiBenedetto and approximately 20 cars were collected. Prior to the wreck, DiBenedetto had led a race-high 49 laps.

“I am not really sure what happened,” Menard said. I hooked the 95 (DiBenedetto). I was trying to get to his outside, and he was kind of in the middle, and he went to the outside and was going back and forth. The 12 (Ryan Blaney) had a big run, so I jumped up in front of him and hooked the 95. I am not sure what really happened, there. I will take the blame for that one, I guess. We had really fast Fords. I sped on pit road and got us behind. We had to play catch-up. We had a shot there at the end, though.”

Pole sitter William Byron led 44 laps, but he was involved in the same wreck as DiBenedetto and also the wreck that sent the race into overtime.

Busch and Ryan Blaney were stage winners in the first 120 laps of the race, with Busch winning the opening 60-lap stage and Blaney the second.

Busch took the lead that led to his stage win on lap 35. He had Hamlin behind him in second, but Hamlin got out of line on the final lap of the stage and fell back to sixth as a result.

Blaney was up front after staying out during a caution for a wreck involving Casey Mears and Parker Kligerman with 14 laps remaining in the second stage. Three other drivers, including Blaney’s Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski, also stayed out after pitting under green before the caution. But drivers who pitted and got new tires during the caution were able to take advantage of those tires to get back to the front, passing all, except Logano.

Joey Logano and Michael McDowell rounded out the top-five of the finishing order.

“We had a really good Shell/Pennzoil Ford,” Logano said. “I actually felt like we had the car to beat and just couldn’t get there. It’s so hard to get to the front. Once I got to the front, I felt like we had a really good car, but I had a good push from behind with the 47 (Ryan Preece), which is pretty cool. We’re both from Connecticut and we raced quarter-midgets against each other, so I thought it was really neat to be working together in the Daytona 500. How neat is that? So it shows you that dreams can come true for little kids, so that was pretty cool.”

Ty Dillon was sixth, Kyle Larson seventh, Ryan Preece eighth, Jimmie Johnson ninth, and Ross Chastain was 10th.

Below, is the complete finishing order for the 2019 Daytona 500:

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Posted by on February 18, 2019. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,Monster Energy NASCAR Cup,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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