Denny Hamlin wins opening Daytona race for 3rd time
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Denny Hamlin has given Joe Gibbs Racing yet another victory to open Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway.
Hamlin won exhibition Sprint Unlimited on Saturday night for the third time in his career. JGR drivers have won this short sprint for three consecutive years and four of the last five.
Hamlin overcame early damage to his Toyota to score his first victory with new crew chief Mike Wheeler, who was a longtime engineer for the No. 11 team before his promotion.
Winning this exhibition race doesn’t always translate into Daytona 500 success. The last driver to win the opening race and the 500 was Dale Jarrett in 2000.