Denny Hamlin might be looking for a wrecked car to push in the Daytona 500

DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 12: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, speaks with the media during the NASCAR Cup Series 62nd Annual Daytona 500 Media Day at Daytona International Speedway on February 12, 2020 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Although he was still one lap down at the end of Sunday’s Busch Clash at Daytona, Denny Hamlin’s No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota was fast—fast enough to push the heavily damaged No. 20 Camry of teammate Erik Jones to the win.

But Hamlin offered a word of caution to those who might be expecting a similar denouement at the end of Sunday’s Daytona 500 (2:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

“The difference would be that his car was so damaged, it was pushing his car back into mine,” Hamlin said. “He had such big nose damage, it kept our lock tighter than what it normally is. If you have two cars that are pretty healthy, that lock is not as strong.

“That’s not to say I won’t be seeking out wrecked cars when it comes down to the end of it, if I’m still around. It was something special which I linked up there, I knew he was in for a ride as long as he held on.”

Jones held on for the win, but just short of the finish line, Hamlin left the back bumper of Jones’ Toyota. There was speculation that defending Daytona 500 winner Hamlin might be practicing a move for Sunday’s race.

“No, I would have made the move much sooner,” Hamlin demurred. “I didn’t want to get in his checkered flag photo. I was just trying to get out of there.”