DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The intensity is picking up in Monday’s 62nd Daytona 500 as defending race winner Denny Hamlin claimed stage two at Daytona Int’l Speedway.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was running second on the final lap of the stage and tried to make a move around Hamlin coming out of turn four, which opened the door for Kyle Busch to sneak past Stenhouse for second place.
Hamlin’s Toyota crossed the line .134 seconds ahead of Busch’s Toyota. Stenhouse’s Chevrolet was third, followed by Martin Truex Jr.’s Toyota and Ross Chastain’s Chevrolet. Others collecting stage points included Jimmie Johnson, Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney, Christopher Bell and Joey Logano.
With Hamlin leading in the No. 11 Toyota, Stenhouse tucked in behind Hamlin in second place just ahead of Joe Gibbs Racing cars of Busch and Truex. Chastain was hanging tough in fifth place in the closing laps of stage two.
On lap 90, B.J. McLeod and Quin Houff crashed coming out of turn two, the second crash of the race. Houff was in front of Aric Almirola, who was able to avoid any contact with the sliding car. Kevin Harvick, a contender for the win entering the race, had rear bumper damage that put him deep in the field, but he remained on the lead lap.
Hamlin led Stenhouse, Busch and Truex on lap 100, the halfway point of the race.