In one of the most exciting finishes in racing history, Denny Hamlin won the 58th running of the Dayton 500 by 0.01 seconds, edging out Martin Truex Jr. in a true photo finish on Sunday.
Hamlin, who led for 95 laps, trailed late but surged ahead in the end to give Joe Gibbs Racing its first Daytona 500 victory since 1993.
“I really didn’t know how he pulled it off, especially after his final pit stop when he went from first place to seventh place,” Catchfence.com reporter Chris Knight said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “Obviously Denny said he had to make that decision to pit and change four tires because he messed up on that last pit stop. He slid his tires and better to be safe than sorry. His team changed four tires instead of two and luckily he was able to work his way back up. But what an absolutely amazing finish. You weren’t sure who really won, and when Denny Hamlin was declared the winner, you were just kind of left speechless because it was such an awesome finish.”
Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards round out the top five, while Joey Logano finished sixth in front of a sellout crowd at Daytona International Speedway.
As Knight could attest, it was a fabulous race, a fabulous day and a fabulous couple of weeks in Daytona.
“I think a lot of it had a lot to do with the whole DAYTONA Rising Project, which we know is now complete,” Knight said. “An absolutely amazing project. Phenomenal job by Lesa France Kennedy and Joie Chitwood III at Daytona. They have done a great job building the first motor sports stadium completely accessible for race fans. More restrooms, more lounges, more concession stands, easier interactions with so many different things. I was walking around the track today and it was just amazing to see how many things are available to the fans. It was great to see a sellout crowd and we couldn’t have asked for better weather. I think this $400 million project is a great thing for the sport. Hopefully what we saw on Sunday with the sellout crowd is just the first of many good times to come for the 2016 season.”