DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 21, 2016) — Joe Gibbs wanted another ring and Denny Hamlin got it for him in the closest Daytona 500 finish in history.
Hamlin raced to his first Daytona 500 victory Sunday, the first for Toyota, and the first in 23 years for Joe Gibbs Racing.
The three-time Super Bowl winning coach made it clear during Speedweeks that he wanted another Daytona500 victory, and his drivers were clear on the task at hand. All four JGR cars pulled the field in the closing laps with Matt Kenseth out front and leading Martin Truex Jr., a Toyota teammate.
Hamlin waited until one lap to go to pull out of line and hope to get a big enough shove to get to Kenseth.
Kenseth tried to block his teammate, Hamlin wedged his car between Kenseth and Truex, and raced Truex side-by-side to the checkered flag.
The margin of victory was 0.011 seconds, the closest in race history. Toyotas swept the podium as reigning NASCAR champion Kyle Busch finished third. Carl Edwards was fifth as Toyota took four of the top five spots.
Kenseth faded to 14th.