DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 21:  Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, celebrates with the Harley J. Earl Trophy and shows off his champion's ring in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series DAYTONA 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 21, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

Active full-time Cup drivers who have won the Daytona 500

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The collective retirements of Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart and the “stepping away” of Carl Edwards took a chunk out of the active wins list for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

But only Gordon’s departure impacted the number of full-time drivers who have won the Daytona 500.

In his 24-year career, Gordon won three editions of the “Great American Race,” the last coming in 2005.

Entering the 2017 season, nine drivers in the Cup garage can boast victories in the biggest race of the year. Only three of those can brag even more about winning it multiple times.

Here’s a look at the nine full-time drivers who have triumphed in the Daytona 500.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2004, 2014)

With Gordon’s retirement, it made Earnhardt the driver with the earliest victory in the Daytona 500. It came six years after his father’s only win in the race in 1998.

Jimmie Johnson (2006, 2013)

A year after Gordon’s final 500 win, Jimmie Johnson began his first championship campaign with his first Daytona 500 victory. It gave Hendrick Motorsports its sixth win in the season opener, 20 years after Geoffrey Bodine earned the first in 1986.

Kevin Harvick (2007)

Harvick’s only Daytona 500 victory is one of the most exciting in recent memory and it came at the expense of NASCAR Hall of Famer Mark Martin, who never won the event. In a green-white-checkered finish, Harvick edged Martin by .020 seconds as an enormous wreck unfolded behind them.

Ryan Newman (2008)

It took a last-lap pass of Tony Stewart for Ryan Newman to give Roger Penske his first Daytona 500 win as a NASCAR owner. Newman did what drivers like Rusty Wallace, Jeremy Mayfield, Bobby Allison and Kurt Busch couldn’t in the previous 36 years. It was made sweeter by Newman and Busch giving Penske a 1-2 finish.

Matt Kenseth (2009, 2012)

A year after Team Penske’s big win, Matt Kenseth gave Roush Fenway Racing its first victory in the Daytona 500 in its 21st attempt. The race was called due to rain after 152 laps. Kenseth would add to it three years later with another win. Kenseth remains the only Roush driver to ever win the Daytona 500.

 

Jamie McMurray (2010)

To start the most successful season of his career, Jamie McMurray got going by only leading the last two laps and outrunning Dale Earnhardt Jr. in a green-white-checkered finish. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver would claim the Brickyard 400 and the fall Charlotte race for a career-high three wins. McMurray’s win remains the only victory by Ganassi in the Daytona 500.

Trevor Bayne (2011)

When the green flag dropped for the last time on the 2011 Daytona 500, the top four drivers – Bayne, Tony Stewart, Mark Martin and Bobby Labonte – all had one thing in common: they’d never won the Daytona 500. Two laps later, Stewart and Martin were nowhere to be seen and Labonte was in fourth, watching Bayne win his first Cup series race in just his second start. In his 128 starts since his upset, it remains his only Cup series win.

Joey Logano (2015)

After four straight years of repeat winners in the Daytona 500, Joey Logano pulled out a win in his seventh start in the race. It gave Team Penske its second Daytona 500 win.

Denny Hamlin (2016)

With a surge down the backstretch, a dramatic pass of his teammate Matt Kenseth in Turn 4 and photo-finish with Martin Truex Jr., Hamlin gave Joe Gibbs Racing its first Daytona 500 win since 1993. Dale Jarrett gave JGR its first Cup win that year. Hamlin’s victory came in his 11th start in the race.

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NASCAR America: Recapping Kurt Busch’s ‘patient’ Daytona 500 win

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A day after his Daytona 500 win, the NASCAR America crew breaks down everything Busch had to do to win. Busch drove the final 30 laps without a rear-view mirror while worrying about how much gas he had left.

Tony Stewart, who owns the No. 41, called the win the most “patient” race of Busch’s career.

Check out the logo for the 60th Daytona 500

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 22:  Fans crowd the infield prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images
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Sure, it’s been roughly 24 hours since Kurt Busch won the 59th Daytona 500.

But it’s not too early to start ramping up to the next entry of the “Great American Race.”

Daytona International Speedway has already unveiled the logo for the 60th Daytona 500, which is scheduled to be run on Feb. 18, 2018.

Check out it out below.

Denny Hamlin, girlfriend Jordan Fish expecting second child

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Can-Am Duel 2
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Denny Hamlin didn’t make it back-to-back wins in the Daytona 500 on Sunday, but he still had a good day.

Hamlin’s longtime girlfriend, Jordan Fish, tweeted just before the “Great American Race” that their first child, 4-year-old daughter Taylor, will soon have a brother or sister.

Fish tweeted a photo of Taylor wearing a “Big Sister In Training” shirt that told the whole story.

Congratulations to the couple and the soon-t0-be addition to their family.

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Matt DiBenedetto delivers Go Fas Racing best Cup Series result in team history

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 24:  Matt DiBenedetto, driver of the #32 EJ Wade Construction Ford, practices for the 59th Annual DAYTONA 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 24, 2017 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
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It took 99 starts, a revolving door of drivers and the crash fest that was the 59th Daytona 500.

That’s all it took before Matt DiBenedetto was able to give his new NASCAR Cup Series team, Go Fas Racing, its best result in team history, finishing ninth in Sunday’s “Great American Race.”

DiBenedetto, driving the No. 32 Ford owned by Archie St. Hilaire, simply survived.

Despite being in the 17-car wreck on Lap 128, DiBenedetto’s car stayed in one piece and, after a last pit stop, had enough gas to take advantage of the misfortune of others. The result is his second top 10 in two seasons.

“That’s a heck of a way to start the year,” DiBenedetto said after the race. “Holy cow. We survived. We got in that one crash and we hit pretty hard. I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s gonna be a long day,’ but the guys did a great job patching it up. It still ran fine. I had good speed. The motor ran great all day, so it was cool.”

Starting his third full-time season in the NASCAR Cup Series, DiBenedetto rolled off 25th in his second Daytona 500 start. The native of Grass Valley, California, had an average running spot of 21.35.

As the laps wound down, teams ahead of DiBenedetto began dropping off as their fuel tanks dried up. The 25-year-old driver had no idea what position he was in as he took the checkered flag.

“No, I didn’t honestly,” DiBenedetto said. “The whole race we were pitting multiple times just trying to make sure it was fixed properly and taking our time and we just kept picking them off one at a time and it turned out to be a great day.”

It was DiBenedetto’s best day since he earned an emotional sixth-place finish in last year’s spring race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Then, DiBenedetto was with BK Racing, which he decided to leave following the season.

“It was definitely different,” DiBenedetto said. “This one was a little bit more survival. … I would say they’re different feelings, but being in the Daytona 500 in the first place is unbelievable. So I’m gonna say this one does feel really good just because it’s the Daytona 500 and it’s been my dream since I was five to even be in it. So to get a top 10 in it, I’m just checking off all these dreams come true.”

Go Fas Racing made its Cup Series debut in 2012 at Texas Motor Speedway with Scott Speed driving its No. 95 Ford.

DiBenedetto is the 23rd driver to take the reigns of a Go Fas Racing car, but the first to drive full-time.

“We’ve taken the team and brought in some really good people,” DiBenedetto said. “I’m so lucky to have my crew chief, Gene Nead, who came in and assembled some of the best guys we could possibly get, so we have some real quality people, some of the folks that were at BK with me. It’s amazing to have that tight of a group, where they are so dedicated to follow me and Gene wherever we go.

“That’s special. You don’t find that often, so we have such a great relationship and I think that’s where we’re gonna turn a lot of heads this year and surprise everybody. You’re only as good as the people around you and we have really good people. I’m fortunate to have them. We’re gonna turn some heads. We have 15 employees total versus some people who have 400-500, but we have 15 good, quality people and our goal is to over-achieve all year.”

It’s doesn’t hurt to start in the Daytona 500.

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