DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 21, 2016) — Martin Truex Jr. was edged by Denny Hamlin at the checkered flag in the closest Daytona 500 finish in history. Hamlin’s margin of victory over Truex was 0.010 seconds, less than one foot. The runner-up finish was also a career best in 12 Daytona 500 starts for Truex.
As the two Toyota drivers came around the final turn in the 200-lap race it appeared Truex had a slight lead. But as the two drivers bumped and grinded to the finish line it was only the electronic timing system that could tell who won NASCAR’s biggest race. It was nearly impossible for the naked eye to determine the winner.
“When you’re battling like Denny and I were, it was hard to tell who was in the lead,” said Truex, who is in his third season with Furniture Row Racing. “I felt I had him down the frontstretch, but when we got to the (finish) line I knew it was going to be close. I did all I could. You never want to be on the losing side, but today was one heck of an effort, especially what we’ve been through during Speedweeks. But all in all, I am proud of my guys, proud to have Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats on this Toyota and our technical alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing.”
Truex, who started the 500-mile race from the rear of the field, ran the majority of the race in the top-five and was positioned in second place almost the entire second half of the race. Truex spent the day drafting with the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas of Hamlin, Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth. Furniture Row Racing is in its first season with a technical alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing, owned by three-time NFL Super Bowl coach Joe Gibbs.
“No question, we had a fast Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats Toyota,” noted Truex. “We ran up front all day and it was a great way to kick off the season. The only thing I am not looking forward to is viewing the highlights of this race the rest of my life. I guess you can say it’s bittersweet — I really wanted to win this race for our owner Barney Visser, the Furniture Row Racing guys here at the track and at the Denver shop for all the overtime hours they put in during the offseason to make this happen. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the effort they have given. And once again our crew chief Cole Pearn and his engineering staff did a fantastic job!”
Finishing positons 3-10 went to: Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Joey Logano, Kyle Larson, Regan Smith, Austin Dillon and Kurt Busch.
After the opening race, Truex is second in Sprint Cup Series driver points.
The race had 20 lead changes among 15 drivers and six cautions for 31 laps.
The next Sprint Cup race is Sunday, Feb. 28 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.