Joe Gibbs says winning Daytona 500 feels as big as Super Bowl victory: 2016 Nascar Race results, updates
This was a race that not many thought will be so tough and competitive. The winner and the second best performer both completed the race almost at the same time, but as Hamlin was slightly ahead of the first runner, up he was crowned the champion of the 2016 Daytona 500.
It must be kept in mind that many people who were thought to do very well in the race had to exit very early in the game. So when Matt Kenseth took the white flag, Denny Hamlin was determined to help his teammate get to victory lane. Only the move he made to defend for Kenseth led to Hamlin winning the closest Daytona 500 in history.
Reports suggest that his decision to jump out of line to block a charge from Kevin Harvick instead led Harvick to push Hamlin enough to catch Kenseth. He staved off Kenseth’s attempt to block, then wedged in between Kenseth and Martin Truex Jr. and beat Truex to the checkered flag by 0.010 seconds. Even as he celebrated his first Daytona 500 victory, Hamlin felt for his teammate.
After his exemplary and well deserving win he said, “This is a great moment for me, but I feel awful for Matt because he’s such a great friend, such a great teammateâ€¦I’m just so proud of all my other teammates for us being so committed to each other for 500 miles. That was very rare that you see the selflessness that you saw, even with two laps to go. All of us were committed to pushing (Kenseth) to a victoryâ€¦I saw (Harvick) coming. I said, ‘If I didn’t make a run, he was going to make a run just like I did.’ I went up there to block, he hit me so hard it shot me three cars forward. It’s crazy, it happened so fast.”
In the meantime Joe Gibbs has said that winning Daytona 500 is like winning Super Bowl. With Denny Hamlin’s victory Sunday, he now has won two Daytona 500s. Considering the first Daytona 500 win came 23 years ago with Dale Jarrett in the organization’s second year of existence, Gibbs knows that winning the Daytona 500 is much like winning Super Bowl.
After the massive win he said, “I’d say it’s the exact same feeling and it’s the people that get to go with you when you do something like that…In motorsports, the one additional thing I really enjoy is the sponsor because they really and truly are part of this. They’re in the race, on the car for 500 miles…It says in this sport, professional sports, how hard it is…That’s the reason why it means so much when you do it. We came here with real good cars, real good teams and worked real hard at it”.