Denny Hamlin came out on top in the 61st running of the Daytona 500 Sunday - not long after a string of dramatic wrecks took out much of the competition in "The Great American Race". Even with reigning Cup Series champion Joey Logano close on both their rear bumpers, it was exactly what Hamlin would have dreamed up. Gibbs was battling a degenerative neurological disease for four years, and was the President of Joe Gibbs Racing from 1997-2015.
NASCAR was forced to stop the race by throwing the red flag.
Hamlin said he would soak up his win, and he said he knows he would have a hangover on Monday: "I'm going to hate tomorrow, but I'm going to love the rest of my life".
"What happened is really unreal", Joe Gibbs said.
"He meant a lot to me and it's hard for me not getting choked up because I've been choked up about 100 times about it", Hamlin said.
DiBenedetto, who held the lead for 49 laps in his first race for his new team, refused to blame Menard for the wreck.
At about 10:30 on Sunday night after leaving Daytona International Speedway, Joe Gibbs and his team rolled up to the fast food restaurant just shy of two miles away from the iconic track, Harley J. Earl Trophy in hand. "If we win the 500, we're going to be there".
Ty Dillon was sixth in the highest-finishing Chevrolet.
Meanwhile, in the pit crew, history was made as women - Brehanna Daniels and Breanna O'Leary - were changing tires for the first time ever in a Daytona 500 race. And it was an emotional win. Ross Chastain, the eighth-generation watermelon farmer who lost his main ride for this year when the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided his sponsor right before Christmas, finished 10th.
William Byron will start from the pole alongside Hendrick Motorsports teammate Alex Bowman.
At 34 years of age and having spent the last seven seasons as a full-time driver on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Almirola is coming off the best season of his career.
But, Tony Stewart had a different opinion while also trying to put the Thursday races into a different context.