DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — New year, another Denny Hamlin win in the Daytona 500, and Joe Gibbs still has the team to beat in NASCAR.
Hamlin won his third Daytona 500 on Monday, becoming the first driver since Sterling Marlin in 1995 to win “The Great American Race” in consecutive seasons. Hamlin’s victory last year was part of a 1-2-3 sweep for Joe Gibbs Racing and kicked off a yearlong company celebration in which Gibbs drivers won a record 19 races and the Cup championship.
Hamlin’s margin of victory of 0.014 seconds over Ryan Blaney was the second closest in race history, after only Hamlin’s win over Martin Truex Jr. in 2016. That margin of victory was 0.01 seconds.
Monday’s triumph is the third for Toyota, all by Hamlin. Gibbs has four Daytona 500 victories as an owner.
“I just feel like I’m a student to the game. I never stop learning and trying to figure out where I need to put myself at the right time,” Hamlin said. “It doesn’t always work. We’ve defied odds here in the last eight years or so in the Daytona 500, but just trust my instincts, and so far, they’ve been good for me.”