DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — It took overtime for Denny Hamlin to win the Sprint Unlimited to begin his trip here, and a photo finish to win the Daytona 500 to end it.
Apparently, Hamlin doesn’t do things easily in Daytona, where he hadn’t won in his previous 10 tries.
“How about that (expletive)!” an ecstatic Hamlin yelled as he entered the media interview room after the race.
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Hamlin edged by Martin Truex Jr. at the start-finish line to take his first career Daytona 500 checkered flag in a photo finish. In Hamlin, Truex Jr., Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards, Joe Gibbs Racing-affiliated Toyotas boasted first, second, third and fifth places in the Great American race.
Hamlin’s margin of victory officially was 10 thousandths of a second, the closest finish in Daytona 500 history.
“I wish I would have crowded him a little bit more up the track late,” Truex said. “But then again, those are split-second decisions.”
Kevin Harvick rounded out the top five, finishing fourth. Defending Daytona 500 champion Joey Logano came in sixth. Kenseth, whose slip-up in an attempt to block Hamlin’s run caused him to lose the lead, fell way back to 14th.
Thumbnail photo via Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports Images