Watch Denny Hamlin Win Thrilling 2019 Daytona 500 In Overtime

Hamlin repeats unique feat with new crew chief Gabehart	
				Image by Harrelson  LAT

Hamlin repeats unique feat with new crew chief Gabehart Image by Harrelson LAT

Perhaps good fortune - who couldn't use a bit of luck? - or opportunity, or even just a little peace of mind.

In his first race with the LFR-Joe Gibbs Racing alliance - and crew chief Mike Wheeler, who worked with Denny Hamlin past year - DiBenedetto put on a career performance.

Caught in the pack of cars spinning out of control behind Hamlin were Ryan Blaney, Aric Almirola, and defending Daytona 500 champion Austin Dillon, all credited with a decent shot at taking this year's Daytona.

Joe Gibbs is a man of his word. And it was an emotional win. This one is for J.D. We're desperately going to miss him the rest of our lives. Considering J.D. wore No. 11 both as a college football player at William & Mary and as a part-time Truck and Xfinity Series driver, it was the clear time to make some sort of tribute. "It's awesome to see a JGR auto in Victory Lane for Joe and J.D. and everything that's kind have gone on this offseason". And at the same time, Gibbs stepped off to himself and closed his eyes in memory.

"I'm not a Gibbs driver, but for what J.D. has done for my career is the reason why I'm sitting here today", Logano said. "It was the most important night in my occupational life".

Although admittedly embarrassed, Gibbs said he downed two triple burgers as his team "had a ball" celebrating winning the first race of the Cup Series season.

The drivers obeyed and delivered an action-packed and wreck-filled running of "The Great American Race".

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So when the No. 18 asked on the restart with six laps to go, the No. 11 team said "no, let's just race it out, being on the front row".

For that first win 26 years ago, Gibbs said no one knew what they were supposed to do after the race.

- Ford was heavily favored to win the race in its debut of the Mustang and Logano was fantastic in trying to chase down Hamlin in overtime. But when the dust finally settled, it was Denny Hamlin taking a spin through victory lane.

"It was unbelievable; exactly what I wanted", said Hamlin, who won the season-opener after his first winless year in 2018. "My playbook said always choose the top, no matter what, no matter who's behind you'".

Denny Hamlin came out on top in the dramatic running of the Daytona 500.

Erik Jones finished third, giving Gibbs all three podium finishes. For Hamlin, who went winless in 2018 and is the winningest active driver without a championship, it was a welcome reminder that his best days in NASCAR aren't behind him. For Hamlin's entire Cup Series career, he's boasted the No. 11-also J.D.'s number-on both doors, and on Sunday, he wore his friend's name on the side of the vehicle in remembrance of the 49-year-old who lost his life to a degenerative neurological disease.

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