Newly crowned DAYTONA 500 champion Denny Hamlin kicked-off his four-day media tour Monday morning with the annual Champion’s Breakfast in the Bill France Room at Daytona International Speedway.
Hamlin was presented with the traditional champion’s jacket and a stainless steel and gold Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona watch – which he will need to stay on schedule for the media frenzy ahead of him. In addition, his No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota was brought to its new home for the next year, inside the speedway’s Ticket and Tours Building where it will be viewed by fans.
“It has been a long day, I haven’t been to bed yet,” said Hamlin, who took some advice from past winners after his dramatic Sunday victory when he edged Martin Truex Jr. by 0.010 seconds. “The greatest advice that I’ve gotten is the schedule’s [tough] but live in the moment because you never know. Plus, ‘this will live with you forever, so enjoy the week.’”
Hamlin’s win not only marked the first DAYTONA 500 championship for him and Toyota, but it also ended Joe Gibbs Racing’s 23-year drought in the “Great American Race.” Gibbs was awarded his own Harley J. Earl trophy to bring home with him this time. Crew chief Mike Wheeler received the Cannonball Baker Trophy given to the champion crew chief, in his first year with Hamlin.
“I think about all the storylines: a first for Denny, a first for Toyota,” Gibbs said. “It’s a big deal for us. How many times do you lay out a plan, then have the thing actually play out?”
During the Champion’s Breakfast, DIS President Joie Chitwood III also unveiled the 2017 logo for the 59th running of the DAYTONA 500.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will return for a Saturday night showing of the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola on July 2. On Friday, July 1, the NASCAR Xfinity Series returns for the Subway Firecracker 250 Powered By Coca-Cola. Tickets can be purchased by calling 1-800-PITSHOP or by visiting www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com.
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