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2014 Speedweeks at Daytona: Hamlin takes Sprint Unlimited

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“Any questions?”

That’s all Denny Hamlin had to say over the radio when he took the checkered flag Saturday night in the Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway, ahead of Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch. After winning the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November and backing it up with a win by attrition at Daytona, it’s fair to say he’s answered the critics’ questions about whether he’s ready to race.

“Homestead kind of came out of the blue, especially how our year had went,” said Hamlin following the race. “We started feeling better. I realized after the win in Homestead, how I was feeling, that we run as good as I feel. When I feel comfortable in the car, especially in long runs and everything, you know, I can do just about anything I need to do to be a race winner. So it's more proving it to myself than proving it to other people. You know, you don't like to talk about what you're going to do; I'd like to just show what we can do.”

“Denny is on a mission, man,” said his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Busch. “I think he lost too much time last year sitting on the sidelines, so he's got some wins to make up for. He won last year the last race of the year at Homestead, was quickest in practice by doing what he needed to do to get a quick lap in practice for sitting on the pole for this race tonight, then he wins tonight. He's on fire right now.”

Hamlin won all three segments of the Sprint Unlimited after securing the pole through a fan vote, setting the field by practice speed, fastest to slowest. He was at the front of the field when nearly half the field was caught up in “the big one” near the start/finish line. Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon and Kurt Busch were among the drivers involved initially, while Danica Patrick got caught up in the wreck after the fact when Ricky Stenhouse Jr. slammed into her.

Busch, much like he did in his 2012 win, tried to wreck but complete the action. “Take my quotes from 2012 and cut, copy, paste,” quipped Busch following the race. “Just kidding.”

Finishing order:

  1. Denny Hamlin
  2. Brad Keselowski
  3. Kyle Busch
  4. Joey Logano
  5. Kevin Harvick
  6. Jamie McMurray
  7. Marcos Ambrose
  8. Ryan Newman
  9. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  10. Matt Kenseth
  11. Tony Stewart
  12. Jeff Gordon
  13. Carl Edwards
  14. Kurt Busch
  15. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  16. Danica Patrick
  17. Jimmie Johnson
  18. Terry Labonte

Find more information about the Sprint Unlimited and 2014 Speedweeks at www.nascar.com.

Quotes in this piece provided by NASCAR.

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