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Denny Hamlin wins 2020 Daytona 500

Denny Hamlin wins 2020 Daytona 500

02/18/2020
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Story Originally Published by USA Today (2/18/20)

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A violent 62nd Daytona 500 that featured a visit from President Donald Trump and covered two days ended Monday evening with Denny Hamlin celebrating victory in NASCAR's biggest race for the second year in a row and all of motorsports concerned for driver Ryan Newman.

Hamlin held off Ryan Blaney in a photo finish in the second overtime at Daytona International Speedway after multiple wrecks in the final 20 laps decimated the field in the longest Daytona 500 in history.

But Hamlin’s celebration was muted as emergency crews tended to Newman after he was involved in a horrific crash on the final lap.

Newman, who held the lead as the field took the white flag, got turned while racing for the win, and his No. 6 Ford slammed into the wall then flipped up and over landing on its roof before Corey LaJoie’s Ford slammed into his car, flipping the car once again.

Safety crews rushed to Newman’s aid to remove him from the car. He was taken to a local hospital. Newman's team, Roush Fenway Racing, issued a statement Monday night with an update: "Ryan Newman is being treated at Halifax Medical Center. He is in serious condition, but doctors have indicated his injuries are not life threatening." 

Hamlin now has won three of the last five Daytona 500s, while giving newly minted Hall of Fame owner Joe Gibbs his fourth victory in the Great American Race. Hamlin also won in 2016 in the closest finish in the event's history. This year's finish took several moments to decide before Hamlin was declared the winner in the second-closest finish in history.

"Things really worked out perfectly there for me at the end," Hamlin said. "I’m very fortunate to be in this place, but we all have to bow our heads and pray for Ryan Newman. That’s the number one thing we should all be thinking about right now.”

Hamlin's three career wins at the Daytona 500 tie him with Bobby Allison, Dale Jarrett, Jeff Gordon for the third-most in the race's 62-year history.

In the first overtime, Michael McDowell and Clint Bowyer made contact on the restart second the race to the second overtime.

Contact between Ross Chastain and Ryan Preece running near the front of the pack with three laps remaining caused a multi-car wreck that also collected Joey Logano, Chase Elliott, Christopher Bell, Ty Dillon and Tyler Reddick. NASCAR officials dropped the red flag to clear the track, leaving 18 cars on the lead lap to chase victory in overtime with Hamlin leading the way with Chris Buescher in second.

Following a restart with 10 laps to go, Reed Sorenson cut a tire and slid up in front of Timmy Hill, causing damage to both vehicles and bringing out another caution.

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