NASCAR Sprint Unlimited: Denny Hamlin wins in 'overtime'

Denny Hamlin held off Joey Logano to win NASCAR's season-opening Sprint Unlimited exhibition race at Daytona

NASCAR Sprint Unlimited: Denny Hamlin wins in 'overtime'

Joe Gibbs Racing driver Hamlin led home an attrition hit field under NASCAR's new 'overtime' system to win the crash-strewn race - which serves as the curtain opener to the NASCAR season, ahead of next weekend's Daytona 500.

Hamlin was just one of eight cars to make it to the chequered flag in one piece, after three separate multi-car crashes sidelined most of the 25-car field.

Brian Vickers - standing in for the injured Tony Stewart in the #14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevy - set off the first major incident on lap 23 of the planned 75, collecting Dale Earnhardt Jr, team-mates Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch, as well as Clint Bowyer, Greg Biffle and AJ Allmendinger, after a right-rear tyre failure entering Turn 1.

The second major accident occurred with just three laps left to run, as contact between long-time frontrunners Brad Keselowski and Carl Edwards also eliminated reigning Sprint Cup champion Kyle Busch.

The race resumed for a final time under NASCAR's new overtime rules, only to ultimately end under caution after Matt Kenseth triggered a six-car crash on the second of the two overtime laps, handing Hamlin his first win of 2016.

Paul Menard was third, from Kyle Larson, Casey Mears, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Six-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson started from pole, but was forced out of the race with damage after a spin into the infield.

Johnson's Hendrick Motorsports team-mate Kasey Kahne was another driver who failed to finish, retiring late on following contact with Jamie McMurray.

McMurray, who started 24th of the 25 cars, made an early charge to run at the front of the pack, only to be taken out in the final multi-car crash.

RESULTS - 79 LAPS:

Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Toyota 1h32m16.000s 2. Joey Logano Penske Ford +0.924s 3. Paul Menard Childress Chevrolet +1.008s 4. Kyle Larson Ganassi Chevrolet +2.568s 5. Casey Mears Germain Chevrolet +3.733s 6. Ricky Stenhouse Jr Roush Fenway Ford +3.896s 7. Kurt Busch Stewart-Haas Chevrolet +4.512s 8. Austin Dillon Childress Chevrolet +6.024s 9. Brad Keselowski Penske Ford +17.985s 10. Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Ford +26.858s 11. Danica Patrick Stewart-Haas Chevrolet +29.094s 12. Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Toyota +57.130s 13. Martin Truex Jr Furniture Row Toyota -1 lap 14. Jamie McMurray Ganassi Chevrolet -1 lap 15. Dale Earnhardt Jr Hendrick Chevrolet -4 laps Retirements: Carl Edwards Joe Gibbs Toyota -7 laps Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Toyota -7 laps Aric Almirola Petty Ford -7 laps Ryan Newman Childress Chevrolet -10 laps Kasey Kahne Hendrick Chevrolet -15 laps AJ Allmendinger JTG Daugherty Chevrolet -23 laps Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Chevrolet -36 laps Clint Bowyer HScott Chevrolet -56 laps Brian Vickers Stewart-Haas Chevrolet -57 laps Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Chevrolet -57 laps 
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