Hamlin Edges Truex Jr. At Daytona
Perhaps the best finish in Daytona 500 history. And definitely the closest. Denny Hamlin edged Martin Truex Jr. at the line to capture the checkered flag by .01 of a second in the 58th annual Daytona 500.
Hamlin captures his first career Daytona 500 win in his 10th try; winning at the track where he achieved his first career cup win in what is now called the Sprint Unlimited. Hamlin led 95 laps, the most among all drivers in the field. He became the third driver in the last 13 years to lead the most laps and win the Daytona 500.
Entering the final lap, Hamlin led the charge on the outside sitting in fourth place. With a push from Kevin Harvick, Hamlin motored to the bumper of leader Matt Kenseth as the field headed into turn 3. As Kenseth went to block his teammate up by the wall, Hamlin dove underneath him along with Truex Jr. who had Hamlin by a nose as they came off of turn 4. With Kenseth being freight-trained by the lead cars, Hamlin and Truex were left to battle for the win. As they neared the line, side drafting and bumping each other, Hamlin narrowly edged Truex Jr. by a matter of inches. The stunning photo-finish capped off an exciting speed weeks at Daytona. This was Toyota's first Daytona 500 victory and the second for Joe Gibbs Racing since Dale Jarrett beat Dale Earnhardt Sr. on the final lap in 1993.
"It's, like, storybook," Hamlin said. "You make a pass on the last corner of the last lap of the Daytona 500. That's what makes it so cool."
Hamlin now solidifies himself in the chase for the championship.