Hamlin Takes the Sprint Unlimited Win at Daytona

Denny Hamlin opens the season in victory lane.

The driver of the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota led 39 laps on his way to scoring the victory in the Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway. He overcame an early race incident with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. to win the race.

“This win couldn’t be possible without my teammates,” Hamlin said. “Matt (Kenseth) sacrificed so much, pushing me at the right time. Total team effort. Just like Kyle’s championship, we win as one. This is a Joe Gibbs Racing win.”

American Muscle

This is his third career win in the 75-lap exhibition event that kicks off Speedweeks. It’s the fourth win in this event for JGR in the last five years. Hamlin looks to become the first driver since Dale Jarrett in 2000 to win both the Unlimited and the Daytona 500 in the same season.

Joey Logano put on a strong run at Hamlin toward the end of the race but had to settle for runner-up in his No. 22 Team Penske Ford.

“I don’t know if it’s a non-points race that plays into it or if it’s just superspeedway racing,” Logano said. “Typically in the Unlimited, there are a lot of crashes.”

Paul Menard rounded out the podium in his No. 27 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet. Kyle Larson came home fourth in his No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet. Those four cars avoided the final lap melee in Turn 1. Casey Mears rounded out the top-five in his No. 13 Germain Racing Chevrolet as part of the multi-car wreck.

Stenhouse finished sixth in his No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford and Kurt Busch finished seventh in his No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet. Austin Dillon placed eighth in his No. 3 RCR Chevrolet followed by Brad Keselowski in ninth racing his No. 2 Ford with Greg Biffle rounding out the top-10 in his No. 16 RFR Ford.

The race lasted 79 laps, four over the scheduled conclusion. There were six cautions for 24 laps, 12 lead changes among three different drivers and 12 cars finished on the lead lap.

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My name is Tucker White. I'm currently majoring in journalism at the University of Tennessee. I started getting into NASCAR around 1998 and started following the sport full-time in 2001. I live and breathe everything related to NASCAR. I also have a burning passion for all things auto racing. I've been following Formula 1 since 2011 and am slowing getting into IndyCar. I do my best to keep up with the World Endurance Championship. But at the end of the day, NASCAR is my primary beat. Being both a native of Knoxville, Tennessee and a student at UT, I'm naturally a die-hard Tennessee Volunteers fan. Especially when it comes to Tennessee Volunteers football. While I'll never stop being one, it can be the most heart-wrenching thing ever. Since 2005, this team has delivered more than its fair share of heartbreaking moments and inhuman frustration. I've stuck with the Vols from the best of times - 1998 National Champions - to the worst of times - 2005 to present - because I know that it'll make it all so worth it when the mighty Vols finally return to the top of the college football landscape. In the last few years, I started to really get into baseball. This past season, I decided to pledge my sporting allegiance to the Atlanta Braves. It didn't turn out too well as they finished 67-95 and finished fourth in the NL East. I do see great potential with the young roster and they might be a force to be reckoned with in the coming years.


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