DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Denny Hamlin won the opening stage of the Daytona 500, showing he’s got a car good enough to become the first to win “The Great American Race” three straight years.
Hamlin moved to the front shortly after the race restarted following a weather delay that lasted nearly six hours. Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch stayed in line behind him until getting shuffled back on the final lap of the stage, which took more than seven hours to complete.
Ryan Preece was second, followed by Austin Dillon, Kyle Larson and Austin Cindric. Christopher Bell was sixth while Bubba Wallace, Joey Logano, Ross Chastain and Cole Custer rounded out the top 10.
The race restarted after a nearly six-hour delay caused by lightning and then heavy rain.
Only 28 of 40 cars remain on track, with 23 of those still on the lead lap.
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