Denny Hamlin beat Martin Truex Jr. by 1/100th of a second to win the 2016 edition of the Great American Race at Daytona. The win, Hamlin’s first in the Daytona 500, resulted from a last lap pass out of turns three and four that took the number 11 Toyota from fourth to first coming to the checkered flag. The amazing finish was even more remarkable considering that passes for the top spot were at a premium all day. Only 20 lead changes among 15 drivers occurred during the 200 lap event, with several of those changes happening during caution periods as cars pitted for tires and gas. Hamlin led four times for a race-high total of 95 laps.
Favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. crashed on lap 169 and finished 36th; another pre-race favorite, Joey Logano, was the highest placing Ford Fusion ending the day in 6th place. Logano was the only Ford to finish in the top 10. Aric Almirola, in the Richard Petty Ford number 43, made a late race charge from 29th to 12th passing a number of cars on the last lap sprint to the finish line. Fusion drivers Ryan Blaney, in the Wood Brother’s Ford and Logano’s teammate Brad Keselowski, finished 19th and 20th respectively to round out what was a disappointing day for the Ford drivers.
Next week the Sprint Cup Series moves to Atlanta Motor Speedway where Logano, Keselowski, and Almirola took three of the top 11 spots in last year’s race.