HAM­LIN WINS Dtighatesyt DAY­TONA 500

Tight­est fin­ish fin­tishoyetn yet in race’s raace’s5hist0ory0 his­tory

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Denny Ham­lin won the open­ing round of the NAS­CAR Sprint Cup last week­end, with the clos­est fin­ish in Day­tona 500 his­tory.

Ham­lin dom­i­nated for much of the race, lead­ing for 95 of the 200 laps, but lost out in the fi­nal round of stops. The Joe Gibbs Rac­ing driver there­fore started the last lap in fourth, but passed team-mate Matt Kenseth and then a push from Kevin Har­vick al­lowed him to beat Martin Truex Jr by just 0.01s across the line.

“This is a team vic­tory,” said Ham­lin, who ended Joe Gibbs’s 23-year Day­tona 500 win drought.

“My team-mates did an amaz­ing job work­ing to­gether. I don’t know where that came from, I don’t know what hap­pened, I don’t even know what I did. This wouldn’t have been pos­si­ble with­out the Toy­otas stick­ing to­gether all race long.”

Truex had to set­tle for se­cond, but it was still a good re­sult as he started at the very back af­ter a tech­ni­cal prob­lem in qual­i­fy­ing. Kyle Busch en­sured it was a Toy­ota podium lock­out with third place. Har­vick’s Chevro­let was best non-toy­ota in fourth place.

Pre-race favourite Dale Earn­hardt Jr led briefly early on but spun out with 30 laps re­main­ing.

Ham­lin took a stun­ning vic­tory Ham­lin (top) won in photo fin­ish at Day­tona Ham­lin (left) led most of the race but be­gan the last lap in fourth

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