NSCS: Hamlin Drives to Second Sprint Unlimited Win

Denny Hamlin captured the victory this evening at the Daytona International Speedway by staying out of trouble all night long. Hamlin started on the pole and led the most laps of 27 to grab his second victory in the event. He also led the most times during the race of six. Tonight, Hamlin became only the ninth driver to score more than one race win in the event.

“The best car won, that’s for sure. I can’t thank this FedEx team enough. Thank everyone from FedEx Express, this is good,” said Hamlin. “We’re two in a row now. We’re building on something. Still we had a great car all weekend and got to thank FedEx and Toyota and Sprint. Thank the fans for coming out. That was survival of the fittest for sure. With three (laps) to go we’re at the tail end of a very small pack and it’s really hard to get runs, but this car was just phenomenal and you saw it those last couple laps.”

Brad Keselowski had a strong showing this evening, but he was just short of the victory when Hamlin pulled away from the rest of the field on the final lap. It was Keselowski’s second top-10 finish in the unofficial season opener. He lost the race by just 0.197 seconds behind the race winner.

“It was definitely a race of attrition and we survived, somewhat, to the end. We finished second,” said Keselowski. “Obviously came up one spot short, which in a race like this is all that matters. It was just kind of the timing of the runs. I thought it was great racing. The cars are maybe just a tiny bit more responsive than they were last year, but, obviously, if the field gets up by the wall it’s tough to make a move, but, all in all, I thought it was pretty good racing. This format is good for plate racing and I thought it was a decent night.”

Kyle Busch managed to salvage a third place this evening after being involved in a wreck 15 laps remaining in the event. Busch spun the No. 18 Camry off turn four, nearly an exact replica of what he did two years ago, from an aero tap from Keselowski. He started the event in the fourth spot and drome himself to his fifth top-10 finish in the Sprint Unlimited at Daytona.

“Just about trying to make the right moves and not having a whole lot of help to do any of it. There’s so little cars out there that you’re just kind of on your own trying to figure things out,” said Busch. “That’s kind of the way the race played out tonight. It was the same race for everybody there at the end.”

With 18 cars starting the event, only nine of them actually ended up finishing. Early on into the event, nine cars ended up in a crash just past the start finish line when Matt Kenseth got spun. It then started a chain reaction collecting Matt Kenseth, Tony Stewart, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Danica Patrick and other drivers. NASCAR threw the red flag to clean up from the incident for around 10 minutes.

The next race for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will be on Thursday evening for the two Budweiser Duel 150 races that will set the rest of the Daytona 500 field. The races will be live on FOX Sports 1 starting at 7:00 p.m. Et. You can also listen to live radio coverage with the call by MRN.

Brett Winningham
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