New year, another Denny Hamlin win in the Daytona 500.
And Joe Gibbs still has the team to beat in NASCAR.
Hamlin won his third Daytona 500 on Monday, becoming the first driver since Sterling Marlin in 1995 to win “The Great American Race” in consecutive seasons. His win last year was a 1-2-3 sweep for Joe Gibbs Racing and kicked off a yearlong company celebration in which Gibbs drivers won a record 19 races and the Cup championship.
Hamlin joined six Hall of Fame drivers as winners of three or more Daytona 500s. He tied Dale Jarrett — who gave JGR its first Daytona 500 win in 1993 — Jeff Gordon and Bobby Allison. Hamlin trails Cale Yarborough’s four wins and the record seven by Richard Petty.
This victory came after just the second rain postponement in 62 years, a visit from President Donald Trump, a pair of red flag stoppages and two overtimes. As he went door-to-door with Ryan Blaney for the finish — the 0.014 margin of victory was the second closest in race history — Ryan Newman took a wild ride along the track when he was crashed trying to hold onto the lead.
Newman’s car flipped several times and crossed the finish line on its roof, engulfed in flames.