(MRN) Denny Hamlin couldn’t win the Busch Clash at Daytona for himself, but he made sure his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate did.
For nearly the entire final lap in the third attempt at overtime, Hamlin pushed the mangled Toyota of Erik Jones all the way to finish line in a race that saw only six of 18 cars running at the finish.
With the nose of his car caved in and held together with tape, Jones led only the final lap-the 88th of the race and the 13th of overtime-in collecting his first victory in the season-opening NASCAR Cup Series exhibition race.
Jones’ No. 20 Toyota Camry sustained heavy damage during a spate of wrecks that started on Lap 66 of a scheduled 75 and continued into the extra circuits. Hamlin, whose No. 11 Toyota was damaged in the Lap 66 and spun with a flat tire in the first overtime attempt, lost two laps on pit road after the incident.
But Hamlin’s car was still running at the finish, and he was there to push Jones past the lead-lap cars of Austin Dillon, Ryan Newman and Clint Bowyer on the last circuit.
For more in Sunday’s wreck-filled Clash, follow this link:
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won the pole for Sunday’s Daytona 500 yesterday as well and will be joined on the front row by Alex Bowman.