Thanks to a lack of practice time because of rain, we only really got a sense of what everyone has through the Can-Am Duel qualifying races.
Hamlin got a push from Chevrolet driver Austin Dillon to gather the momentum needed to get past Earnhardt.
"Obviously I would rather the highlight of my Daytona 500 win be like Denny [Hamlin]'s when he makes that lovely move and wins the race [in 2016]".
It was a case of redemption for Hamlin, who lost the Advance Auto Parts Clash on the final lap last Sunday and it was a case of role reversal from last year's Duel race. Could a crash happen, taking out race contenders? "It's Mario Andretti. It's something I will also cherish and keep". "Great sign of a great year to come".
"We didn't say one word about points before the race", Elliott said.
"Just enough to let fans go to the bathroom and get a commercial break in", one driver quipped. "There certainly are guys that do a good job".
"I don't know how it will affect me", he said.
"You know, I try not to get reflective or nostalgic because it just - it's too emotional", Waltrip said.
"That contradiction had me stumbling through a life I didn't want to be living". "So I think it's pretty bright when you have an attitude like that". Bill Elliott in 1985.
I didn't really factor Jamie McMurray into winning the Daytona 500 this year until he finished second in the Can-Am Duel.
Kennington lined up 19th of 21 drivers to start the second of the Duel's two heats, behind Sadler in 18th and ahead of Hill in 21st.
But Elliott won the pole again this year and will be joined by Earnhardt in the front row, with each of them hoping to bounce back from that misfortune.
Combine all those notable nuggets, and the 59th running of "The Great American Race" on Sunday is setting up to be another unpredictable showcase event. I'm confident enough to say I'm the best race vehicle driver out there, but I guess at the same time after the race I'm able to look back at the race and say, 'Why did I do that?
LaJoie got his spot when Reed Sorenson crashed with 12 laps left after being bumped by LaJoie.
See the Daytona 500 live! "Because my daughter doesn't see a scantily clad model - she just sees another person who's wearing black or whatever colors or a lot of leather". I wanted to be out there racing.
Elliott, meanwhile, was thrilled with his first Cup victory. Thanks to a quirk in NASCAR's vexing new national series points system, Elliott and Hamlin have both earned ten points and are tied atop the series standings before the season begins. I was the flawless person to win because I just wanted to give him the credit.
"The partnership with Aaron's has been important to me, and they could wrap their arms around us doing a final race together", Waltrip said. We had some steam tonight.
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Friday night at 7:30, the NextEra Energy Resources 250 will open the season for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Now, with the new changes, each race is divided into stages. We would rather it be on Sunday, but at the same time it means a lot to me. Elliott led the rest of the way, holding off 2010 Daytona 500 victor Jamie McMurray, 2007 victor Kevin Harvick and Keselowski for the win. That may change on Sunday.
"We're going to work on some things that make that possible". There's always something to be learned. "More importantly, we took our best care and brought it home in one piece ..."
Earnhardt is one of three drivers going for their third Daytona 500 title.
"It definitely was something very, very helpful for me", Suarez said. But either that or just run him off the racetrack.
Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch, A. J. Allmendinger, Dillon, Earnhardt, Danica Patrick, Ryan Newman, Kyle Larson and Ty Dillon finished behind Hamlin.