DAYTONA BEACH, FL (NEXSTAR) — Denny Hamlin came to the Daytona 500 determined to honor his late car owner with a victory. He delivered with a storybook tribute for Joe Gibbs Racing.
Hamlin won NASCAR’s biggest race for the second time in four years in 2019, leading JGR in a 1-2-3 sweep of the podium in overtime. The race and the season were dedicated to J.D. Gibbs, Joe Gibbs’ eldest son who died after battling a degenerative neurological disease.
J.D. Gibbs helped his father start the race team, ran it while Joe Gibbs was coaching the Washington Redskins, was a tire changer on the team’s first Daytona 500 victory and the one who discovered Hamlin during a test session at Hickory Motor Speedway in North Carolina. Hamlin was hired to drive the No. 11 — the number J.D. Gibbs used when he played football — and J.D. Gibbs’ name is on the Toyota.
When Hamlin stopped his car along the frontstretch to collect the checkered flag, he immediately credited J.D. Gibbs.
Here’s a look at some of the top images from the 61st running of the Dayton 500:
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)