DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 18, 2019) – In what can only be described as an emotional few weeks after the death of J.D. Gibbs, it was only fitting to see the driver he recruited to Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) win his second DAYTONA 500.
“This one’s for J.D.,” said Hamlin.
“What happened here tonight is really unreal … I’m just thrilled and I think J.D. had the best view of everything,” Joe Gibbs added. “It’s emotional for all of us. It’s the most emotional win I’ve ever had in my life, in anything.”
Hamlin’s win led a top-three sweep for JGR with Kyle Busch finishing second by just 0.138-seconds. Erik Jones finished third, while defending Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Joey Logano finished fourth.
The race was filled with drama, starting in the first stage where Kurt Busch saw his hopes for a second DAYTONA 500 vanish on lap 50 as he got tangled in a six-car incident that led to his 25th-place finish. His brother Kyle would go on to win the first stage. The second stage was determined by a last lap battle that saw Ryan Blaney edge William Byron for the win.
The drama didn’t stop there as there was a 21-car incident with just nine laps remaining in the race, which would lead to “NASCAR Overtime.” After a red flag to clean the track, the race restarted with five laps remaining with Kyle Busch leading. And then, another multi-car incident brought out the caution, this one involving nine cars. This time, though, it was Hamlin nosing past Kyle Busch prior to the caution.
That set the stage for overtime with the final restart coming on lap 206 and Hamiln was able to outrun Kyle Busch to the checkered flag.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series returns to action this weekend in Atlanta.
Race fans can see Hamlin and the rest of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers in action at Kansas Speedway on May 11. Tickets are on sale now at www.kansasspeedway.com, by calling 866.460.7223 or at the Kansas Speedway Ticket Office Monday through Friday from 9 AM – 5 Pm.