Denny Hamlin takes emotional Daytona 500 victory

Posted February 19, 2019

Denny Hamlin left the Daytona 500 with a victory that featured a 21 auto pile-up and only 14 drivers to finish the race on Sunday.

With just 10 laps to go in the 2019 Daytona 500, driver Paul Menard made an error and sparked a major multi-car wreck that impacted 21 drivers.

Had they not agreed, Hamlin and Busch would have been in a drag race, with some combination of Joey Logano and Michael McDowell behind them. Gibbs' oldest son died a month ago from a degenerative neurological disease, the AP said.

After a crash-filled Daytona 500 this year (there were three major crashes in the last 10 laps alone), a victor has emerged from the wreckage. It brought out a red flag that stopped the race for a lengthy cleanup. "His legacy still lives on through Joe Gibbs Racing and proud to do this for them".

Hamlin and Busch were running first and second when the No. 11 and No. 18 teams agreed to work together.

"I knew what I needed to do, so I was relaxed and glad that we were able to get the job done", he added.

Emporia, Kan., native Clint Bowyer was in third in his No. 14 Ford Mustang after the big crash, but his involvement in yet another wreck ended his bid, and his day.

"It was wonderful; exactly what I wanted", said Hamlin, who won the season-opener after his first winless year in 2018.

Since last year's Daytona 500, races at restrictor-plate tracks haven't featured as much non-stop action as years past.

"It's awesome to see a JGR vehicle in Victory Lane for Joe and J.D. and everything that's kind have gone on this offseason". "It's the most emotional, and the biggest, win I've ever had in my life in anything". In his 13 seasons, he's amassed 32 Cup wins, including two Daytona 500 races and two Southern 500 races (2010, 2017).

Ty Dillon was sixth in the highest-finishing Chevrolet.

Denny Hamlin was so excited during Monday morning's Daytona 500 Champion's Breakfast that he forgot about one of the special gifts given to each champion of The Great American Race. "So you just have to survive to that point". He actually led six of the 200 laps.

Hendrick Motorsports swept the front row of Sunday's starting grid, with Byron on the pole and Alex Bowman on the outside of Row 1. He also is the winningest driver during Speedweeks since 2014, scoring five wins.