Originally written on Start 'N' Park Blog  |  Last updated 10/9/14

HOMESTEAD, FL - NOVEMBER 22: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2009 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Daytona 500 Recap: Denny Hamlin led three times for 33 laps and was third for the final restart in Sunday’s 55th running of the Daytona 500, but the inside line never gained momentum in the final five-lap shootout to the checkered flag and the #11 FedEx Express Toyota Camry crossed the finish line in 14th-place. Hamlin restarted on the inside line following the race’s final caution period, but the preferred outside groove proved too much to overcome, as Jimmie Johnson held off Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the victory. Mark Martin finished third, followed by Brad Keselowski and Ryan Newman. The FedEx team started 35th on the famed 2.5-mile high-banked Florida oval, and Hamlin was content to bide his time in the early going near the back of the big draft pack. He gained a few spots after the first two-tire pit stop, and picked off a few more as he narrowly missed a multi-car incident that took out many contenders on Lap 34. Hamlin then linked up with Joe Gibbs teammates Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch, as well as fellow Toyota drivers in the lead pack, and eventually had a six-car breakaway at the front. Hamlin took the lead for the first time on Lap 77 after quick work by the FedEx crew got him out in front of Kenseth, who had led 34 of the previous 40 laps. The #11 machine ran second through the race’s midpoint as Hamlin positioned himself for the finish. Three caution periods bunched the field in the final quarter of the race, but each time, the FedEx Toyota was forced to start on the inside line, which was never able to sustain momentum or allow Hamlin to mount a charge for the win. Phoenix Preview: The Series heads to Phoenix International Raceway for Sunday’s 312-lap event on the one-mile desert oval where Hamlin is the defending race winner. In that race, Hamlin took the lead on a restart with 58 laps remaining Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway and never looked back, guiding the #11 FedEx Office Toyota Camry to victory lane. Hamlin masterfully circled the one-mile desert oval while conserving fuel for the final 84 laps, and had enough gas to be the first to see the checkered flag, ahead of Kevin Harvick, Greg Biffle, Johnson and Keselowski. Hamlin has eight top-10 finishes in 15 career PIR starts, and has started in the top-five four different times. Hamlin captured the pole in his first-ever Cup start at Phoenix in November 2005. In the most recent trip to PIR last November, Hamlin started third, ran among the leaders throughout the event and finished runner-up to Harvick after leading 46 laps. In total, Hamlin has led 399 laps at PIR and has an average finish of 10.3, third-best among active drivers. Event: Subway Fresh Fit 500 Date/Time: March 3/1 p.m. MT 2012 winner: Denny Hamlin 2012 polesitter: Mark Martin Distance: 312 laps/312 miles Track Length: 1 mile Banking: 9/11 degrees Track Shape:  Oval
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Mariota wins Heisman Trophy

Report: Melky Cabrera, White Sox agree to 3-year deal

WATCH: Penguins commentator makes poor 'I can't breathe' joke

Would Percy Harvin take pay cut to return to Jets?

Nationals GM disappointed Bryce Harper missed NatsFest

Broncos to place Montee Ball on season-ending IR

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Johnny Manziel could have made $8-10 million in college?

Will Muschamp says his only offer came from Auburn

NFL relocation to Los Angeles is gaining steam

Adrian Peterson to consider running in Olympics

Broncos sign CB Chris Harris to five-year extension

Floyd Mayweather wants to fight Manny Pacquiao on May 2

Twitter cracks jokes over Tim Bradley's disfigured face

WATCH: Brewer gets away with ridiculously long travel

Melvin Gordon wishes he played more in record game

Prospective Las Vegas NHL owner would let fans name team

Will Muschamp already recruiting for Auburn

WATCH: Mavs play keep-away with Marreese Speights' shoe

WATCH: OSU's Sam Thompson throws down awesome dunk

WATCH: Glass shatters during ECHL game, injures fans

Urban Meyer boasts about his Ohio State accomplishments

The five best rookie wide receivers of 2014

Current, former Auburn players react to Will Muschamp hiring

Nick Young after game-winner: I'm rough like Scott toilet paper

NASCAR News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

SEE: Announcer's 'I can't breathe' joke

Marcus Mariota wins Heisman Trophy

Muschamp already recruiting at new job

Nats GM 'disappointed' in Bryce Harper

The five best rookie receivers of 2014

NFL relocation to LA looks likely

Peterson thinking about Olympics?

Brett Lawrie makes little girl's day

Braxton Miller returning to OSU?

Adrian Peterson appeal denied

Winners and losers of the Winter Meetings

Key evidence tossed in Hernandez trial

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.