Denny Hamlin looks to defend Daytona 500 title

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (WFLA) — Denny Hamlin won the 2019 Daytona 500 in a wild finish that saw Joe Gibbs Racing finish 1-2-3 in the biggest race of the year. It was his second Daytona 500 win in the span of four years.

Adding to the emotions of the day, the race team was mourning the loss of J.D. Gibbs, son of team owner Joe Gibbs, who had passed away about a month before the race. J.D., who was co-owner of the team and actually discovered Hamlin early in his career, died Jan. 11, 2019 at the age of 49 from a degenerative neurological disease.

Hamlin went on to win six Cup races last season with a career-high 19 top 5 finishes and nearly won it all. As a team, JGR won an unprecedented 19 Cup races and Kyle Busch took home the NASCAR Cup Championship at the end of the season.

It was a year to remember for Hamlin and his team, as he looks to make his way to victory lane for the third time in his career at Daytona. If he takes the checkered flag on Sunday, he’d become just the fourth driver to win back-to-back Daytona 500 races.