NASCAR is back and the 2014 Sprint Cup Series season is starting off the same way the 2013 season ended, with Denny Hamlin in victory lane.
In the first race of 2014, Hamlin captured the win in the Sprint Unlimited after making a late race pass within the final laps of the race. After starting the race from the pole, Hamlin maintained himself in the hunt for the win and out of the chaos that followed the race.
Not only did Hamlin win the pole after fans voted for the Sprint Unlimited field to be set by final practice speeds, he led for the most laps. Hamlin also won all three segments of the race.
Brad Keselowski finished in second, followed by Kyle Busch, Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick to close out the top five.
The Sprint Unlimited race saw Hamlin’s comeback following an injury in 2013, continue and extend into 2014 following a win at the 2013 season finale. A win to end 2013 and a win to start 2014 before the season officially starts marks the return of a competitive Hamlin that had been missing for much of the 2013 season. It begins the road to retribution for Hamlin and begins his hopes for another championship run.
The exhibition race at Daytona with 2013 pole winners not only featured a Hamlin win, but a night full of draft racing and eliminations being made throughout the race. The night may have start with 18 drivers, but by the night’s end, less than half of the field was able to make it to the final lap after wrecks in the first two segments.
Daytona International Speedway also saw another unexpected moment, as the pace car caught fire before the final segment of the race.
The pace car moment just added another moment of unexpected and surprising moments in NASCAR history.