A victory for Denny Hamlin is a sure indication that the NASCAR Cup Series season has officially returned with the 62nd running of the Daytona 500. It was an incredible prerace show that included President Donald Trump being the Grand Marshall and WWE Superstar Seamus being the honorary pace car drivers. Dale Earnhardt Jr. also waved the green flag to kick off the race. The race track was buzzing with excitement with these important figures making an appearance.
The Cup Series race had a quick start with pole-sitter, Ricky Stenhouse Jr, jumping out to the lead. The Ford teammates all grouped together and made a run for the lead, but Stenhouse was able to fend them off. The race settled down with everyone moving into a single file line.
Then the rain came.
On lap 20, everyone came down pit road with inclement weather moving in. The race was postponed to Monday afternoon. Everyone came down pit road for service, before the race was postponed to the following day.
On Monday afternoon, Stenhouse Jr continued to lead.
On lap 48, Chase Elliott surged into the lead with a line of his teammates pushing from behind. With seven laps remaining in the first stage, another caution flag waved as William Byron went spinning through the grass on the backstretch after an incident with another competitor.
Everyone up front, except the Chevrolet drivers, came down pit road. Chase Elliott took the green flag on the restart and was able to lead the field to the end of stage one.
After hanging out in the back of the field, Denny Hamlin and all of his Toyota teammates cycled to the lead to begin stage two.
On lap 25, a caution came as Quinn Houff wrecked on the backstretch. He was on the verge of becoming a lap down when Aric Almirola led a train of cars right into the back of Houff.
After the whole field came down pit road, Denny Hamlin continued to lead the field. Once again, the field moved into a single file line, and it was smooth sailing for Hamlin. He was able to lead the field and win stage two.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Ryan Blaney battled hard for the lead to begin the final stage of the Daytona 500. The race quickly moved into a three-wide formation, then settled back down with Kyle Busch taking the lead.
A train of Ford Mustangs with Brad Keselowski at the helm surged into the lead with fifty laps remaining. Green flag stops began to cycle through with thirty laps remaining mark. Kyle Busch cycled back into the lead, and this is where the big one occurs.
With 16 laps remaining, Joey Logano locked bumpers with Aric Almirola, forcing Almirola into the back of Keselowski with nowhere to go. The two hit the outside wall and then collected nineteen other drivers. With this wreck happening at the front of the pack, it took out most of the favorites to win.
Ryan Newman made it through unscathed and was on the front row for an important restart.
After two costly cautions involving Ryan Preece, Ross Chastain, Clint Bowyer, and Michael McDowell, the race moved into overtime. Denny Hamlin brought the field to the restart, but it was Ryan Newman taking the lead with Ryan Blaney pushing. Blaney fell back into third and gave Hamlin a big push on the backstretch. Both cars caught Newman on the corner, and it was a drag race to the finish line. Hamlin and Blaney moved to pass Newman, and Newman flipped in the air. Denny Hamlin beat out Ryan Blaney to win the Daytona 500 for the second straight year.
Ryan Newman had one of the hardest crashes anyone has ever witnessed. After flipping through the air, he was T-Boned on the driver’s side by oncoming traffic. After sliding across the finish line on the roof of his car, he finally stopped sliding near the exit of pit road. It was a tough scene to witness, as Newman was removed from his car and taken directly to a local hospital.
Fortunately, with the power of prayer Newman’s injuries were not life-threatening. The NASCAR family and community are very relieved to hear the news. Despite our feelings towards certain drivers, nobody wants to see a wreck like that happen. We will continue to pray that Ryan has a smooth recovery and takes his time before returning to the racetrack. He has the support of the entire NASCAR community on a healthy return.
It was a solid race for Denny Hamlin as he made it through the initial big one and stayed out front to avoid the other wrecks that occurred. He dominated the second stage of the race and was there at the end to seal the deal. Two victories in a row is a big accomplishment, and hopefully, he can celebrate accordingly knowing that Newman is in a stable condition.