Daytona 500 win gives Hamlin long awaited time in spotlight


February 24, 2016

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Denny Hamlin burst onto the scene a decade ago when he showed up at Daytona International Speedway as a rookie and won the first exhibition race of Speedweeks.

Hamlin beat Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon that night, and an article the next day from a newspaper in a city with deep racing roots opened with “Denny Who Did What?”

It was quite the arrival for a cherub-faced short track racer from Virginia who had clawed his way into a ride with Joe Gibbs Racing. Hamlin had dreamed of becoming a NASCAR star his entire childhood, an...

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