DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Denny Hamlin crossed the finish line barely ahead of Ryan Blaney to claim his third-career Daytona 500 victory, and second-in-a-row on Monday night.
Heavy rain delayed the remaining 450 miles from Sunday afternoon, when the 62nd running of the Great American Race at Daytona International Speedway was originally scheduled to be completed.
Hamlin nosed Blaney at the line as the field wrecked around and behind them.
Ryan Newman was involved in a terrifying incident with Blaney and Corey Lajoie coming to the line.
Newman was transported to a local hospital following the race, and per NASCAR’s Steve O’Donnell, in a statement released to NASCAR, Newman is in serious condition, but his treatments are for injuries that are non-life threatening.
“I think we take for granted sometimes how safe these cars are,” Hamlin said after celebrating, then learning of Newman’s incident. “We’re praying for Ryan (Newman).”
The big event started on Sunday afternoon with a visit from President Donald J. Trump.
President Trump gave the drivers the command to fire the engines, and then his presidential limousine, named “The Beast”, led the field of 40 cars around the 2.5 mile oval, and then pulled off to let the field get to racing.
But as the honorary starter, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., was about to wave the green flag, the rains came. The delay was less than an hour, but eventually, the field took the green flag, with Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. leading the way.
Stenhouse led all 20 laps before the next rain storm came, and after hours of waiting around and a second monsoon-like storm, the race was moved to 4:00 pm ET on Monday afternoon.
When the race resumed on Monday, the racing was up on the chip from the get go.
At one point, the Hendrick Motorsports quartet of Chase Elliott, Jimmie Johnson, Alex Bowman, and William Byron made their way to the front of the field.
Elliott went on to win the first stage, but his teammate, Byron, did not escape the first stage after contact with Stenhouse, Jr.
Stage two kicked off with the Toyota Racing drivers first through fifth almost immediately after the drop of the green flag.
Only one incident in the second stage, as Aric Almirola, Quin Houff, and BJ McLeod collided on the backstretch. Hamlin went on to win the stage.
In the final stage, the intensity was cranked. Hamlin was poised for victory, but there were still many left to go to battle with him.
Newman led up until three laps to go, through the “Big One” and a few more incidents.
The race went into double overtime, and it was Hamlin out front.
Coming to the line, Hamlin won it, while Newman slid upside-down and to a stop at the end of the Tri-oval.
“Things really worked out perfectly there for me at the end,” Hamlin said. “I’m very fortunate to be in this place, but we all have to bow our heads and pray for Ryan Newman. That’s the number one thing we should all be thinking about right now.”
This story will be updated as news on Ryan Newman’s condition becomes available.
Columnist / Reporter / Photographer / Webmaster for TheRacingExperts.com