Denny Hamlin Wins Daytona 500 After Holding Off Joey Logano, Kyle Busch [VIDEO]
Denny Hamlin came out on top on Sunday in the Daytona 500. He won the 61st running of it by holding off reigning Cup Series champ Joey Logano and teammate Kyle Busch. The 38-year-old previously won the Daytona 500 three years ago, in 2016.
Despite his first winless season and turmoil within the Joe Gibbs Racing team, Hamlin held on. In overtime, he was able to maintain his composure and block out Logano and Busch for the checkered flag.
But the win took on a deeper meaning, one bigger than Hamlin. The No. 11 driver made sure to dedicate the win to J.D. Gibbs, who served as the team president from 1997 to 2015. Gibbs passed away in January at 49 after a four-year battle with a degenerative neurological disease.
After his win, Hamlin proclaimed “This one’s for J.D.”
“This one is for J.D.” pic.twitter.com/r5iYk4yfvi
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) February 18, 2019
The elder Gibbs reflected that sentiment. “What happened here is really unreal,” he said. “I’m just thrilled. I think J.D. had the best view of everything,” he added.
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) February 18, 2019
After J.D. Gibbs died, Hamlin tweeted “His car. His number. His signature above my door. I will always be grateful for what His family did for mine and the opportunity he gave me 14 years ago. Now more than ever #doitforJD.”
His car. His number. His signature above my door. I will always be grateful for what His family did for mine and the opportunity he gave me 14 years ago. Now more than ever #doitforJD
— Denny Hamlin (@dennyhamlin) January 12, 2019
This isn’t a new story, though. Just last year, the race took on a special meaning as well. Austin Dillon won it all while driving the No. 3 car, made famous by Dale Earnhardt Sr., 20 years after his only Daytona 500 win.
After the race, Hamlin continued a Joe Gibbs Racing tradition. When the team first won the Daytona 500 in 1993, they took the trophy to Steak N Shake. On Sunday, Hamlin would do the same.
“Give the bill to Denny!”
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) February 18, 2019