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Denny Hamlin nets Joe Gibbs Racing a Duel sweep as giant crash unfolds behind him on final lap

Nick Bromberg
From The Marbles

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Denny Hamlin is two-for-two in 2014 at Daytona.

Hamlin was out front as the caution flag flew on the final lap for a big crash behind him and took the second Budweiser Duel at Daytona Thursday evening. In the first Duel, Hamlin's Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Matt Kenseth took the checkered flag.

The wreck behind the leaders started when Jimmie Johnson ran out of fuel on the final lap. His car slid up to the high side and Jamie McMurray nudged his left rear bumper. The contact started a chain reaction accident that included a fire underneath the hood of Johnson's car and Martin Truex Jr.'s.

Clint Bowyer's car did a flip in the air before landing on its wheels while Michael Waltrip's car made a hard hit on the inside wall and came to rest in a pit road opening.

Johnson said he feared running out of gas because he was afraid the pack was going to hit him if he did. And it's what happened.

"I did (run out of gas), and I feel terrible," Johnson said. "To tear up that many race cars, to see the 15 lip. I feel terrible and certainly want to apologize to everyone."

Jeff Gordon finished second to Hamlin while Kurt Busch finished third. Before the crash happened, Hamlin, much like in Saturday night's Sprint Unlimited, had a gap back to second place that wasn't going to be overcome as he headed to the checkered flag.

Five drivers have won the Sprint Unlimited and Daytona 500 in the same season. However, no driver has won the Unlimited, a Budweiser Duel Race and the Daytona 500 in the same season. If Hamlin wins on Sunday, he'd be the first to snag all three.

The final corner crash meant there was some serious jumbling of the standings on the final lap. Terry Labonte and Bobby Labonte, who were more than a half-lap behind the leaders at the white flag got into the the top 15 and guaranteed themselves positions in the 500.

The Daytona 500 starting order:

1. Austin Dillon
2. Martin Truex Jr. (Involved in Duel crash. Backup car. Moving to back.)
3. Matt Kenseth
4. Denny Hamlin
5. Kasey Kahne
6. Jeff Gordon
7. Marcos Ambrose
8. Kurt Busch
9. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
10. Paul Menard
11. Josh Wise
12. Brian Scott
13. Aric Almirola
14. Trevor Bayne
15. A.J. Allmendinger
16. Kyle Larson
17. David Gilliland
18. Landon Cassill
19. Ryan Newman
20. Clint Bowyer (Involved in Duel crash. Backup car. Moving to back.)
21. Tony Stewart (Engine change. Moving to back)
22. Jamie McMurray (Involved in Duel crash. Backup car. Moving to back.)
23. Cole Whitt
24. Terry Labonte
25. Greg Biffle
26. Bobby Labonte
27. Danica Patrick (Engine change. Moving to back)
28. Casey Mears
29. Alex Bowman
30. Carl Edwards
31. Brian Vickers
32. Jimmie Johnson (Involved in Duel crash. Backup car. Moving to back.)
33. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
34. Brad Keselowski
35. Joey Logano
36. Michael Annett
37. Kyle Busch
38. Kevin Harvick
39. Reed Sorenson
40. Justin Allgaier
41. Parker Kligerman
42. Michael Waltrip (Involved in Duel crash. Backup car. Moving to back.)
43. David Ragan (Involved in Duel crash. Backup car. Moving to back.)

Missing the race: Eric McClure, Ryan Truex, Joe Nemechek, Morgan Shepherd, Michael McDowell

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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