Daytona Beach, FL…(NASCAR)..Denny Hamlin won his second consecutive Daytona 500 in a photo finish with Ryan Blaney on Monday night at Daytona International Speedway, the second closest finish in the history of the “Great American Race.” Hamlin passed Blaney after a wreck broke out behind them. Ryan Newman was taken to a local hospital following the last-lap wreck. According to a Roush Fenway Racing statement, Newman is being treated at Halifax Medical Center. He is in serious condition, but doctors have indicated his injuries are not life threatening.
Hamlin is the fourth driver to win back-to-back Daytona 500s, joining Richard Petty (1973-74), Cale Yarborough (1983-84) and Sterling Marlin (1994-95). His No. 11 Toyota officially cleared post-race inspection. NASCAR also announced it will take the No. 6 Ford of Newman and the No. 32 Ford of Corey LaJoie back to the NASCAR R&D Center for further evaluation.
Behind Hamlin and Blaney at the finish were Chris Buescher, Newman’s teammate at Roush Fenway Racing; David Ragan, fourth in a one-off after retiring from full-time racing; and Kevin Harvick. Newman was credited with a ninth-place result behind Bowyer (sixth), Brendan Gaughan (seventh) and LaJoie.
Following inclement weather that delayed the race from Sunday to Monday, the race resumed on Lap 21. Chase Elliott won Stage 1, and Hamlin triumphed in Stage 2, before, in typical fashion, the intensity ramped up in the closing laps.
A chain-reaction crash that started when Joey Logano bumped Aric Almirola into Brad Keselowski on Lap 184 involved 19 of the 37 cars still in the race and eliminated Keselowski and seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson (likely making his last Daytona 500 start).
A nine-car wreck in Turn 1 on Lap 199 collected Logano and Almirola and forced overtime. The first set of extra laps had scarcely begun when a three-car incident in the tri-oval saw Michael McDowell and Clint Bowyer spinning through the infield. That wreck set up the second overtime and finish.