Denny Hamlin won the Daytona 500 for the second time in four years and led a Joe Gibbs Racing team 1-2-3 in NASCAR’s top race.
The victory was a tribute to JD Gibbs, who passed away the month after suffering from a neurological disease. JD Gibbs founded the team with his father and was the one who discovered Hamlin.
Hamlin drives the 11 – JD Gibbs’ number when he played football – and his name is stamped on the Toyota he drives. Upon arriving at the Daytona International Speedway circuit, Hamlin said that both the 500 Miles and this NASCAR season will be dedicated to JD Gibbs.
“The whole family helped me a lot during my career, and this is because of JD,” said Hamlin. “We are going to miss him terribly for the rest of our lives. Their legacy lives on with Joe Gibbs Racing and I am proud to have achieved this for them. “
Kyle Busch finished second and Erik Jones completed the podium. The Gibbs drivers were able to withstand the final push from current NASCAR champion Joey Logano (Ford).
The race was interrupted twice for almost 40 minutes due to a series of accidents at the close. Five crashes occurred in the last 20 statutory laps and only 14 vehicles finished without being passed more than one lap.
Logano was fourth, followed by Michael McDowell.
Last year, Hamlin had his first winless season in the Cup racing series and decided to change crew chief. When he won the Daytona 500 in 2016 it was in his first race with Mike Wheeler in charge and this victory was in his first race with Chris Gabehart. AP