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NASCAR Recap: Hamlin Wins Exhibition Race and Elliott Takes Daytona 500 Pole

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Chase Elliot has won the pole for the Daytona 500 and Denny Hamlin was the Sprint Unlimited exhibition race

Denny Hamlin won this year’s Sprint Unlimited after undergoing off-season knee durgery

The “Great American Race” isn’t until Feb. 21st, but NASCAR is already back in full effect as Denny Hamlin won this past weekend’s Sprint Unlimited exhibition race and Chase Elliott earned the pole for the 58th annual Daytona 500.

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Hamlin’s win marked the third time he’s won the Sprint Unlimited in his career and the victory came only a month after he underwent offseason knee surgery. The race ended under caution due to a crash on the last lap. Ford driver Joey Logano finished second and he was followed by the Chevrolets of Paul Menard, Kyle Larson, and Casey Mears.

After wrapping up the exhibition race, Sprint Cup drivers took to Daytona International Speedway the following day for Daytona 500 qualifying. Chase Elliott, who is taking over the car formerly driven by Jeff Gordon, became the youngest pole sitter in the history of the Daytona 500, at just 20 years old.

Elliott reached a top speed of 196.314 mph during his qualifying lap. He will be joined on the front row by Toyota driver Matt Kenseth. The starting order for the rest of the field will determined by the results of the Can-Am Duel qualifying races this Thursday.

Elliott’s father, Bill, won the Daytona 500 two times and he was at the track to congratulate his son on winning the pole.

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Video: Hamlin Wins 2016 Sprint Unlimited

News Sources: NASCAR, ESPN