Denny Hamlin Wins The 61st Daytona 500

In a race that featured two big wrecks, two Red Flags and a long winless streak broken, Denny Hamlin won the 61st Daytona 500 for the second time in his 15 year career and 32nd time he has found victory lane.

“The whole family, they’ve just done so much for me throughout the course of my career. This one’s for J.D.,” Hamlin said after the race. “We’re desperately going to miss him the rest of our lives, but his legacy still lives on at Joe Gibbs Racing.”

Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, Erik Jones and Michael McDowell rounded out the top 5.

“We had a really good Shell/Pennzoil Ford.” Logano said. “I actually felt like we had the car to beat and just couldn’t get there. It’s so hard to get to the front. Once I got to the front, I felt like we had a really fast car.”

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“We just didn’t have any outright speed to break the 18 or the 11.” -McDowell said after the race. “When the 18 shot to the outside, he had a lot of momentum, a big run. I tried to go with him, to hope the 18 and 11 would get to together to steal a win but a Top 5 is great.”

Stage 1:

Under beautiful and bright sunny skies, William Byron led the field to the green flag with his 88 teammate of Alex Bowman to the right of him. Byron led the first 6 laps in his 24 Axalta Chevrolet.

Pit stops for the first time happened around Lap 19 with Kurt Busch stopping to lead us off. He almost took the fuel can with him but they got it right in the nick of time.

However, during pit stops, the 32 of Corey Lajoie’s right front tire blew causing the first caution of the race and the season.

The cars that didn’t come in during the green flag stops, did come which included the teams like Alex Bowman, Bubba Wallace, Jimmie Johnson, Hamlin & Ryan Preece.

They went back to green on Lap 24 and there we not just one lane that was moving forward, but there was two lines. Unlike the XFinity race the previous night, there was two lanes of racing which made it much better racing for the fans, drivers, and everybody involved.

Jimmie Johnson took the lead on Lap 39 however it did not take long as the dark M&M’s car of Kyle Busch retook the lead, just a couple circuits later.

With two laps to go in Stage 1 and everybody itching for stage points, Bubba Wallace collided with Darrell Wallace Jr, sending Wallace Jr. around. Wallace collected Kurt Busch and Jamie McMurray, who is racing in his final race. All had minor damage and were able to continue.

We went back to green with 7 to go in Stage 1 with the two Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) teammates, one two. Would Hamlin make a move to grab a stage win? You better believe he did but he made the move too soon and fell to sixth to end the stage while his JGR teammate of Kyle Busch, won the first stage of the season.

Stage 2:

Stage 2 got going with the defending champion and the winner of the 2nd Duel on Thursday, Joey Logano with the lead spot until lap 73 when Logano among with Ryan Blaney, Kevin Harvick and a host of Ford’s came into Pit lane and got mostly fuel only.

Matt DiBenedetto retook over the lead and for DiBenedetto, this is already turning into a historic day. According to Racing Reference, Before today’s race, DiBenedetto led only 23 laps in his 140 starts in the Monster Energy Cup Series. Today? By the time he passed the start/finish line on Lap 87, he already surpassed that.

There was only 19 cars on the lead lap when Matt DieBenedetto caught the pack that went to pit lane on Lap 73, on Lap 104. The lucky thing for the guys that were about to be lapped, they were saved by the 27 of Casey Mears. The driver of the second Germain car, that raced his way in, made contact with the 96 of Parker Kligermann heading into Turn 1.

Ryan Blaney, Brad Keselowski, Ryan Preece, and Kyle Larson stayed out and took the first two rows on the restart. Kyle Busch restarted fifth after pitting.

Blaney went back to green with the lead…and did not give it away as he took the Green and White Checkers to end the second stage.

Byron, Erik Jones, Brad Keselowski and Ricky Stenhouse Jr did not pit.

Stage 3:

Byron led off the third stage and was definitely proving that the duo between him and Chad Knuas was working well. Byron, was however, was battling Knaus’ former driver as Jimmie Johnson for multiple, multiple laps.

During Green Flag pit stops, the real drama began. Multiple drivers, including Johnson, were involved in a wreck when the 52 of Cody Ware and the 51 of BJ McLeod was trying to slow down which ran into Tyler Reddick. Reddick then, proceeded to drive into the 48. Johnson’s entire back side of his car near his fuel cell, was destroyed.

They went back to green and after a couple of quick cautions for the 42 of Larson cutting a tire and the 2 of Keselowski incident on the front stretch, the carnage started to occur and the big one struck on with 9 laps to go.

21 drivers were involved in the big one in which Paul Menard made contact with Matt DiBenedetto which set a series of sparks and carnage throughout the field. Among the ones involved? Blaney, Stenhouse Jr, David Regan, Truex Jr, Johnson, William Byron and David Regan.

“I just saw a replay and I didn’t realize that all that was going on but it was very dark and I saw sparks flying around so I knew I was underneath someone. I cant thank NASCAR and Daytona International Speedway, the safety they have is unbelievable.” Regan said. “That is just speedway racing. Everyone is blocking, everyone is racing hard, not cutting an inch and that’s what happens when you’re going for the Daytona 500.”

The sparks and excitement weren’t done though as 2 laps later, a “mini” big one occurred when Larson got involved with Stenhouse Jr which included Chase Elliott, Keselowski, Alex Bowman, Kevin Harvick and Ty Dillon.

The chaos was not over as the Big One Part 2: happened during NASCAR Overtime when the 14 of Clint Bowyer, turned down into the 34 of Michael McDowell sending a gaggle of cars into the mayhem that is accustomed with Daytona International Speedway.

“Hey it is the Daytona 500, I had to go for it. This just sucks man. We had such a good Rush Truck Centers, Mobile 1 Ford Mustang. We had a shot at it and I just took it.” Bowyer said

Among the number of cars involved? Cassill, McMurray, Gaughan and Keselowski.

NASCAR Overtime was back at it again, and this time, they got to the checkered flag. Hamlin went neck and neck with Busch, Logano and McDowell but it was just too little and too late as the Chesterfield, VA native broke his 47 winless drought at the great spectacle in racing, the Daytona 500.

Monster Energy Cup Series Race Number 1
Unofficial Race Results for the 61st Annual Daytona 500 – Sunday, February 17, 2019
Daytona International Speedway – Daytona Beach, FL – 2.5 – Mile Paved
Total Race Length – 207 Laps – 517.5 Miles

Fin Str Car Driver Team Laps Stage1Pos Stage2Pos Pts Status
1 10 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Express Toyota 207 6 0 45 Running
2 31 18 Kyle Busch M&M’s Chocolate Bar Toyota 207 1 0 45 Running
3 28 20 Erik Jones Sport Clips Toyota 207 10 0 35 Running
4 4 22 Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford 207 3 10 42 Running
5 34 34 Michael McDowell Love’s Travel Stops Ford 207 0 0 32 Running
6 22 13 Ty Dillon GEICO Chevrolet 207 0 0 31 Running
7 26 42 Kyle Larson Credit One Bank Chevrolet 207 8 0 33 Running
8 21 47 Ryan Preece # Kroger.com Chevrolet 207 0 0 29 Running
9 17 48 Jimmie Johnson Ally Chevrolet 207 0 9 30 Running
10 36 15 Ross Chastain(i) Chevrolet 207 0 0 0 Running
11 2 88 Alex Bowman Nationwide Chevrolet 207 2 0 35 Running
12 35 2 Brad Keselowski Discount Tire Ford 207 0 4 32 Running
13 5 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Fastenal Ford 207 0 5 30 Running
14 19 6 Ryan Newman Oscar Mayer Deli Fresh Ford 207 0 0 23 Running
15 25 96 * Parker Kligerman(i) Gaunt Brothers Racing/Toyota Toyota 205 0 0 0 Running
16 20 3 Austin Dillon Dow Chevrolet 205 0 0 21 Running
17 18 9 Chase Elliott NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet 200 7 0 24 Accident
18 32 32 Corey LaJoie Old Spice Ford 200 0 0 19 Running
19 38 51 BJ McLeod(i) Jacob Companies Chevrolet 200 0 0 0 Running
20 6 14 Clint Bowyer Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Ford 199 0 0 17 Accident
21 1 24 William Byron Axalta Chevrolet 198 0 2 25 Accident
22 16 40 Jamie McMurray McDonald’s/Cessna/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet 198 0 0 15 Accident
23 30 62 * Brendan Gaughan(i) Beard Oil Distributing/South Point Chevrolet 197 0 0 0 Accident
24 27 0 Landon Cassill PERMATEX Chevrolet 196 0 0 13 Accident
25 12 1 Kurt Busch Monster Energy Chevrolet 196 0 0 12 Running
26 3 4 Kevin Harvick Busch Beer Car2Can Ford 194 9 7 17 Accident
27 39 31 * Tyler Reddick(i) Symbicort Chevrolet 191 0 0 0 Accident
28 9 95 Matt DiBenedetto Procore Toyota 190 0 6 14 Accident
29 7 21 Paul Menard Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford 190 0 0 8 Accident
30 24 38 David Ragan Select Blinds Ford 190 0 0 7 Accident
31 14 12 Ryan Blaney Menards/Peak Ford 190 5 1 22 Accident
32 8 10 Aric Almirola Smithfield Ford 190 0 3 13 Accident
33 23 41 Daniel Suarez Haas Automation Ford 190 4 8 14 Accident
34 29 8 Daniel Hemric # Bass Pro Shops/Caterpillar Chevrolet 190 0 0 3 Accident
35 11 19 Martin Truex Jr. Bass Pro Shops Toyota 190 0 0 2 Accident
36 33 36 Matt Tifft # Speedco Ford 190 0 0 1 Accident
37 15 37 Chris Buescher Kleenex Wet Wipes Chevrolet 190 0 0 1 Accident
38 13 43 Bubba Wallace Aftershokz Chevrolet 169 0 0 1 Accident
39 37 52 Cody Ware # Winn Dixie Chevrolet 155 0 0 1 Accident
40 40 27 * Casey Mears Chevrolet 104 0 0 1 Accident

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