In an absolutely epic finish, Denny Hamlin beat Martin Truex Jr. to the finish line by one hundredth of a second during the final lap of Sunday’s Daytona 500 — the tightest 1st Place/2nd Place finish differential in race history.
With a Hail Mary move Sunday, Hamlin ended Joe Gibbs’ 23-year drought at the Daytona 500.
It gave Hamlin his first Daytona 500 victory in 10 tries, and Toyota its first in “The Great American Race.”
“You couldn’t have written a better ending,” Hamlin said. “It’s the pinnacle of my career, for sure.”
Hamlin’s mother, Mary Lou, tweeted a photo of the letter after Sunday’s race:
— Mary Lou Hamlin (@11mommalou) February 21, 2016
Hamlin also tweeted a photo later Sunday of the childhood essay that he wrote in 1987, with the caption, “It’s real now.”
Hamlin stayed on the gas for a door-to-door dash to the checkered flag that ended in a photo finish with Truex. He beat Truex by 0.010 seconds, the closest finish since NASCAR introduced electronic scoring in 1993.