Photo: Mark J. Rebilas - USA TODAY Sports

Hamlin takes checkered flag at Daytona 500

Denny Hamlin captures his first win in the Monster Energy Cup Series since September of 2017

February 18, 2019 - 11:18 am

In a wreck-filled finish at the 61st running of the Daytona 500, Denny Hamlin takes the win in the first race of the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season at Daytona International Speedway.

The 15-year NASCAR veteran led 30 of the 207 laps run in the "The Great American Race", and ended up holding off Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Kyle Busch and Erik Jones to claim the checkered flag. For Hamlin, it was his first win at the Daytona 500 since 2016, and his first win in NASCAR since the Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on September 3, 2017.

Defending Monster Energy Cup Series champion Joey Lagano ended up finishing the race in fourth place.

There was no shortage of chaos in the 2019 Daytona 500 with several big crashes, including a massive 18-car pileup with nine laps remaining in the race. Some of the notable names taken out of the race in that race included Jimmie Johnson, Martin Truex, Jr., Aric Almirola and Matt DiBenedetto.

Hamlin dedicated his win to J.D. Gibbs, who passed away earlier this year at the age of 49. Gibbs was battling a degenerative neurological disease for four years, and was the President of Joe Gibbs Racing from 1997-2015.

"The whole family, they just have done so much for me over the course of my career. This one's for J.D.," said Hamlin after his win on Sunday. "We are desperately going to miss him for the rest of our lives, but his legacy still lives on through Joe Gibbs Racing and we're proud to do this for them."

The second race of the season comes at the Folds of Honor Quick Trip 500 on February 24 at 2 p.m. at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.

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