Denny Hamlin holds off Martin Truex Jr. to earn closest win in Daytona 500 history

9 Comments

Denny Hamlin held off Martin Truex Jr. to win Sunday’s 58th Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway by .01 of a second, the closest finish in the history of the Great American Race since the advent of electronic timing and scoring.

Truex looked like he might win, but Hamlin surged just before the start-finish line to take the checkered flag. It was Hamlin’s first career win in 11 starts in the 500, and also the first win with new crew chief Mike Wheeler.

“This is the best,” Hamlin said in victory lane. “I mean, it’s just the best. It’s the biggest race of my life. The Daytona 500. This is the pinnacle of our sport and I’m just proud to be here.”

Truex finished second, followed by defending Sprint Cup champ Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards in fifth.

“I did all I could do,” Truex said. “I’m really proud of that effort. He just side-drafted me. I probably should have run (Hamlin) up a little more. I lost it at the last second.”

Sixth through 10th were defending 500 winner Joey Logano, Kyle Larson, Regan Smith, Austin Dillon and Kurt Busch.

Matt Kenseth led heading into the final lap, but Hamlin got a strong run on the backstretch. Kenseth tried to block his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, bumped fenders with Hamlin’s car, and was forced to back off to avoid wrecking.

Kenseth, who was hoping for his third Daytona 500 win, finished 14th.

Hamlin led the most laps (95) of the 200-lap event, followed by Kenseth’s 40 laps, Kyle Busch’s 19 laps, Jimmie Johnson (18) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (15).

Earnhardt was involved in a hard wreck on Lap 169 and finished 36th, one spot ahead of Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series DAYTONA 500

HOW HAMLIN WON: The driver of the No. 11 Toyota was running fourth when the final lap began. He got a great push from Kevin Harvick, muscled his way past Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Matt Kenseth, who tried to block him, and then got a late surge coming down the frontstretch to beat Truex to the finish line. Hamlin becomes only the fifth driver in NASCAR history to win both the Sprint Unlimited and the Daytona 500 in the same edition of Speedweeks. The others to do so were Bobby Allison (1982), Bill Elliott (1987), Dale Jarrett (1996 and 2000) and Jeff Gordon in 1997

WHO ELSE HAD A GOOD RACE: Furniture Row Racing switched from Chevrolet to Toyota this year for Martin Truex Jr., as well as established a technical alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing. As a result, JGR essentially had four drivers in the top five: Hamlin, Truex, Kyle Busch and Edwards. … Kyle Busch scored a top-five finish after missing this race a year ago when he was injured in the Xfinity race the day before the 500. … Regan Smith, who spun early in the race, finished eighth for his third top-10 in his last five Daytona 500 starts.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: One of the favorites to win, Dale Earmhardt Jr., wrecked on Lap 169. Earnhardt’s car got loose and hit the retaining wall coming off Turn 4. “It caught me by surprise there,” Earnhardt told Fox Sports. “We were starting to move forward, getting aggressive and yeah, I just lost it.” … Pole sitter Chase Elliott spun into the infield grass on Lap 19, suffering splitter and right side damage. He had to be towed back to the garage. He returned to the track on Lap 60 after repairs were made.  … On Lap 183, Danica Patrick and Greg Biffle tangled, with Patrick’s car suffering heavy damage. She ultimately went to the garage on Lap 186 and finished 35th. … The day ended early on Lap 92 for Matt DiBenedetto and 2015 Xfinity Series champ Chris Buescher, who wrecked together, with both cars suffering heavy damage. Buescher finished 39th, DiBenedetto last in the 40-car field.

NOTABLE: Hamlin gave team president J.D. Gibbs perhaps his greatest birthday present. Gibbs, who has battled health issues the last year, turned 47 on Sunday. … Brian Vickers, replacing the injured Tony Stewart, was involved in a wreck but came back to finish 26th.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I don’t know where that came from, I don’t know what happened, I can’t even figure out what I did, but it all just came together.” – said Denny Hamlin, who shed tears as he held his longtime girlfriend and their baby daughter.

WHAT’S NEXT: Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 on Sunday, Feb. 28, at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Elliott Sader retakes Xfinity points lead after Daniel Suarez’ Iowa exit

Leave a comment

A top-three finish by Elliott Sadler in the U.S. Cellular 250 and a DNF by Daniel Suarez put Sadler back on top of the Xfinity Series points standings.

Sadler leads Suarez by 14 points after finishing third. Suarez had been the points leader for the previous eight races.

Erik Jones, who leads Xfinity regular with three wins this season, is fourth in the standings, trailing Sadler by 49 points.

points-page-001

points-page-002

Stats and results for Xfinity Series race at Iowa Speedway

USCellular250_final
Leave a comment

Erik Jones led 154 of 250 laps on the way to winning the U.S. Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway, his fifth win in 45 Xfinity Series starts.

The rookie started second and led the final 16 laps before earning his third win of 2016.

The top five was filled out by Ty Dillon, Elliott Sadler, Brennan Poole and Dakoda Armstrong.

Here are the full results for the U.S. Cellular 250, the 19th race of the season.

 

results-page-001

Erik Jones takes third Xfinity win of year at Iowa Speedway

1 Comment

Ty Dillon did his best to keep the outcome in question by leading late, but Erik Jones made Iowa Speedway his own by leading 154 laps, including the last 16, to win the U.S. Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway.

The 20-year-old driver grabbed the lead at the outset of the race after starting second and finished the night with his third Xfinity Series win of the year.

It’s the sixth Xfinity win by Joe Gibbs Racing in the last seven races.

Ty Dillon led his chunk of the race after beating Jones off pit road during a caution that began on Lap 150. Before that, Jones failed to lead just 13 laps to go.

The 83 laps were the most Dillon has led this season.

“The high line wasn’t there,” Dillon told NBCSN. “Every lap I was having to do everything I could to get him behind me. Trying to watch him and get in his line … it just wore my stuff out more than I needed to.”

With 16 laps to go, after staying within a half second of Dillon, Jones retook the lead and streaked away.

“I wasn’t saving much. I was working as hard as I could to get around Ty,” Jones told NBCSN. “It was tough. The aero game is pretty tough. Needed to get clean air for a long time. Burned a lot of tire off the DeWalt Camry there at the start. It’s a great day, had a great car. One that definitely deserved to win tonight.”

It’s Jones’ first win since he was victorious at Dover International Speedway on May 14.

Jones called the win “redemption” for his last visit to Iowa, which ended in 27th place due to a mechanical failure.

Jones was followed by Dillon, Elliott Sadler, Brennan Poole and Dakoda Armstrong.

HOW ERIK JONES WON: The rookie didn’t get bogged down in traffic after losing the lead in the pits during a caution. Jones stayed close to Ty Dillon and took the lead for the final time with 16 laps left.

WHO HAD A GOOD NIGHT: A month after his Iowa win for Joe Gibbs Racing, Sam Hornish Jr. failed to lead a lap, but still finished sixth in only his second NASCAR race of the season … Brennan Poole started the night in 25th and fought his way to finish fourth, his second top five of the season … Dakoda Armstrong, driving the No. 18 for JGR in place of Matt Tifft, started a career-best third and finished fifth. He had never finished in the top 10 in his previous 91 starts.

WHO HAD A BAD NIGHT: Darrell Wallace Jr. was in 11th on Lap 28 when he made contact with another car and hit the outside wall before spinning low down the backstretch. Wallace spun again on Lap 121 and finished 27th, 11 laps down … On Lap 150, Brandon McReynolds broke loose entering Turn 1 and spun before smacking the outside wall. The No. 24 car finished 32nd … On the resulting restart, Daniel Suarez ran into the back of Josh Berry, damaging his hood. The No. 19 eventually finished the night in the garage in 30th.

NOTABLE: Brad Keselowski finished eighth, continuing the 23-race winless streak for the No. 22 team and Team Penske in the Xfinity Series.

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: “My heart’s been broken every race since Indy, I want to get in victory lane again,” Ty Dillon after leading 83 laps and finishing second. Dillon hasn’t won since the 2014 Xfinity race at Indianapolis.

NEXT: Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International on Aug. 6 at 2 p.m. ET on CNBC

WATCH LIVE: NASCAR Xfinity race from Iowa Speedway at 7:30 pm ET

NXS_WHITE_RGB
Leave a comment

The NASCAR Xfinity Series races tonight at Iowa Speedway and NBCSN has all the coverage.

Countdown to Green begins at 7:30 p.m. ET with race coverage beginning at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Green flag is scheduled for 8:14 p.m. ET.

Sam Hornish Jr. won in the most recent Xfinity race there last month.

If you’re not near a TV, you can watch online or on the NBC Sports app at the NASCAR stream on NBC Sports.

If you plan to stream the race on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.

Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.

Click here at 7:30 p.m. ET to watch live via the stream.

Starting Grid

N1619_STARTROW-page-001