Hamlin Wins Third Daytona 500
In a photo finish, Denny Hamlin edged Ryan Blaney to win his third Daytona 500 on Monday night.
The remaining 180 laps of the Daytona 500 was delayed to Monday due to inclement on Sunday. The green flag waved and the race resumed on Lap 21. Chevy and Ford immediately took to pit road to top off on fuel and get fresher tires to race for the first stage win of the season. Chase Elliott led the way for Chevrolet and remained up front to win Stage 1.
Typically, drivers will hang in the back in an effort to avoid any wrecks that occur up front. Toyota remained in the back and made their way to the front of the pack shortly after the second stage began. Hamlin raced his way to the front to win Stage 2.
The intensity ramped up as the laps winded down. On Lap 184, Joey Logano bumped Aric Almirola into Brad Keselowski causing a chain-reaction accident that collected 19 cars. Unfortunately, that accident collected seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson, who likely made his last Daytona 500 appearance.
With one lap to go, the race was forced into overtime after another multi-car wreck occurred. Before the first lap of overtime was complete, Clint Bowyer and Michael McDowell spun through the tri-oval to send the race into a second overtime.
When the green flag waved on the second overtime, Hamlin pushed his way to the front. Hamlin was able to pass Blaney for the win after a wreck broke out behind them. Denny Hamlin is the fourth driver to win back-to-back Daytona 500s, joining Richard Petty, Cale Yarborough and Sterling Marlin.
Blaney finished behind Hamlin in the second closest Daytona 500 finish in history followed by, Chris Buescher, David Ragan and Kevin Harvick.
The wreck that occurred on the last lap collected Roush Fenway Racing's, Ryan Newman. Newman was taken to a local hospital and is being treated. According to a statement from Roush Fenway, Newman is in serious condition, but doctors have indicated that his injuries are not life threatening.
The NASCAR Cup Series heads out west to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Pennzoil 400 on Sunday, February 23 at 3:30 p.m. on FOX.
Danielle Lockemy developed a passion unlike any other for NASCAR after being immersed in the sport at a young age. She grew up watching races from the press box and shuffling papers in the media center at Darlington Raceway. The SC native enjoys attending races, engaging with fellow fans and sharing content through social media. Follow her on Twitter @DanielleLockemy.