Denny Hamlin edged Martin Truex Jr. for the the win in Sunday’s (Feb. 21, 2106) Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway—by the closest margin in the history of the Great American Race.

NASCAR via Getty Images

In a wild last lap at the 2.5-mile superspeedway, Hamlin moved into the outside lane in front of Kevin Harvick, who had gained momentum up top. Avoiding a block from JGR teammate Matt Kenseth in Turn 4, Hamlin dove to the inside and won a drag race to the finish line against Furniture Row’s Martin Truex Jr.

Leading the inside lane after Kenseth abandoned it to try to block Hamlin’s progress, Truex nosed ahead as he and Hamlin approached the stripe. But Hamlin used a last-ditch side-draft to pull even and edged ahead by .010 seconds—roughly four inches—as the cars crossed the line in a photo finish.

The victory was the first for Toyota in the Daytona 500. For JGR, it was the first Daytona 500 win since Dale Jarrett passed the late Dale Earnhardt on the last lap in 1993 to give Joe Gibbs his first triumph as a car owner.

For Hamlin, the final lap was a blur.

"I don’t remember it—honestly," Hamlin said. "I just remember pulling up in front of the 4 (Harvick, who finished fourth) and him giving me a push and not letting off when he was pushing, and ultimately that was the push to the victory for us. I know we got to the outside of the 18 (Kyle Busch), the 78 (Truex) ... and then the 20 (Kenseth) came up to block high, and I saw that the middle was going to be the only way I could get around both of them."

Iowa Connection:
Landon Cassill (Fairfax, IA) was the highest finishing driver from Iowa coming home on the lead lap in 23rd. Michael Annett (Des Moines, IA) also finished on the lead lap crossing the finish line in 27th.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race - Daytona 500
Daytona International Speedway
Daytona Beach, Florida
Sunday, February 21, 2016

1. (11) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 200
2. (28) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 200
3. (4) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 200
4. (9) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 200
5. (10) Carl Edwards, Toyota, 200
6. (5) Joey Logano, Ford, 200
7. (14) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 200
8. (27) Regan Smith, Chevrolet, 200
9. (21) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 200
10. (8) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 200
11. (38) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 200
12. (34) Aric Almirola, Ford, 200
13. (13) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 200
14. (2) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 200
15. (39) Michael McDowell, Chevrolet, 200
16. (26) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 200
17. (6) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 200
18. (37) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 200
19. (7) Ryan Blaney #, Ford, 200
20. (25) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 200
21. (30) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 200
22. (19) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 200
23. (24) Landon Cassill, Ford, 200
24. (35) Brian Scott #, Ford, 200
25. (12) Ty Dillon(i), Chevrolet, 200
26. (18) Brian Vickers, Chevrolet, 200
27. (22) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 200
28. (23) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 200
29. (29) David Ragan, Toyota, 200
30. (36) Michael Waltrip, Toyota, 200
31. (33) Bobby Labonte, Ford, 200
32. (32) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 199
33. (31) Clint Bowyer, Chevrolet, 199
34. (15) Greg Biffle, Ford, 198
35. (16) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, Accident, 184
36. (3) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, Accident, 169
37. (1) Chase Elliott #, Chevrolet, 160
38. (40) Robert Richardson Jr., Toyota, Engine, 135
39. (17) Chris Buescher #, Ford, Accident, 91
40. (20) Matt DiBenedetto, Toyota, Accident, 91

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