Hamlin Dashes Past Crashes for Emotional Daytona 500 Victory
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Even the most casual of racing fans are aware of two obviosities every February:
- The Daytona 500 is Nascar's version of the Super Bowl, and
- Super Bowl-winning coach Joe Gibbs owns one of Nascar's top teams.
What's often overlooked is his son, JD Gibbs, had a lot to do with the team's success.
JD was the team's co-founder and co-owner with his dad. He lost his battle with a degenerative neurological disease just over a month ago.
The Daytona 500 was the first race since his passing, and the team was determined to make it a tribute to him.
Joey Logano finished in fourth place, which provided an appropriate coda to the finishing order.
He credited JD with a smooth transition in to the team back in 2008 when he replaced Tony Stewart, and while he's moved on, it seems he's accepted the karma of the moment.
Beyond question, the secondary story in this 61st running of America's Race was the carnage all day long.
The last 20 laps alone featured five crashed and two cautions, with one that put paid to a mind-blowing 18 cars.
"I wrecked a lot of cars. I feel bad about that." - Paul Menard pic.twitter.com/gUl1ht3guG— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) February 17, 2019
Talk about thinning the field, but that was just the coup de grace.
Bent metal was everywhere:
Frankly, all that was missing were a few crazy Russians and a dashcam.
It's no surprise, then, that only 14 cars finished on the lead lap, which is more than anyone can say for the Russian drivers. Ever.
Anyway, this Daytona triumph was Hamlin's second in four years. It's a decent comeback from last season, when he got zipped outta the winner's circle.
For the record, Kyle Busch came in second and Erik Jones was third. JD woulda been proud.