Updated February 20, 6:02 AM CT
Hamlin wins 2nd Daytona 500
What: The Daytona 500
Where: Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida
When: Sunday, February 17th, 2019
Time: 2:30 p.m. ET
Denny Hamlin won his second Daytona 500 in four years on Sunday, taking the checkered flag in a crash-riddled race that had only 20 cars finish.
Hamlin dedicated his second Daytona 500 to Joe Gibbs Racing Co. (who finished the race with a 1-2-3 sweep) Founder J.D. Gibbs, who died last month following a long battle with a degenerative neurological disease. The oldest son of Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs was 49.
Kyle Busch, also racing for Joe Gibbs Racing, felt that his teammate left him to fend for himself as Busch did the blocking that allowed Hamlin to pull away and hold off Joey Logano's late challenge.
Busch finished second in "The Great American Race," extending his winless streak to 14 in NASCAR's season opener.
"This was probably the best shot to win," said Busch, who led four times for 37 laps. "Being up front that much at the end of the race and having the track position and being in those positions on those restarts."
Busch was leading on a restart with nine laps to go and opted to start from the bottom lane after Hamlin told Busch's crew that they would"race it out" without working together.
Before the final restart, Busch said Hamlin wanted to "go back into teammate preservation mode."
"Kind of funny how it swaps back and forth a little bit, but it is what it is," Busch said.
"I'm going to hate tomorrow, but I'm going to love the rest of my life," Hamlin said.
JGR notched the first 1-2-3 sweep in the Daytona 500 since HendrickMotorsports accomplished the feat in 1997. So the team leaves Daytona with plenty to celebrate.
"Yeah, the 11, we try to work together as much as we can," Busch said."You kind of see it sometimes at other racetracks, as well. But here at restrictor plates, when you have guys like that up front, you try to work together as much as you can, and that situation kept presenting itself, and it just was what it was.
"I'd much rather see a JGR car in victory lane more than anybody else, so I felt like keeping our strength in numbers lined up was going to be the best we could be," Busch said. Party on.
Huge crash at Daytona with 9 laps to go.
Daytona International Speedway
Ran DeBord ~ All Access Sporting News
Sources for this article include: NASCARCommunications, NASCAR, FoxSports, AP, AASNSports
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