The 2016 NASCAR Daytona 500 as it happened

Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. race across the finish line of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series DAYTONA 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 21, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. race across the finish line of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series DAYTONA 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 21, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida.

DAYTONA BEACH FL- Denny Hamlin snapped a 23 year Daytona 500 drought for Joe Gibbs Racing Sunday winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 in a thrilling finish over Martin Truex Jr.  Hamlin, who won last week’s Sprint Unlimited led the most laps but lost ground in the closing laps and was forced to make a furious charge to the front and win by the closest finish in Daytona 500 history. Here’s how it went down Sunday in the Daytona 500.

Pole sitter Chase Elliott led the field to the green and held it for the first lap despite pressure from Dale Earnhardt Jr., who started second after Matt Kenseth was forced to the rear of the field. Joey Logano and Kyle Busch were two by two behind.

Earnhardt who was one of the favorites all week, took the lead on lap 3 on the backstretch.

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