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Hamlin wins Sprint Unlimited, Stewart OK after crash

Auto RacingOpen-Wheel RacingDenny HamlinTony StewartKyle BuschBrad KeselowskiKevin Harvick

Denny Hamlin survived a major crash involving half of the field and then held off Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch during the closing laps to win Saturday night's Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway.

Running under the lights and a full moon at Daytona, this year's 75-lap preseason race for the Sprint Cup Series had its share of accidents and bizarre moments, particularly when the pace car caught on fire while on the track just prior to the start of the final 20-lap segment.

Hamlin led a race-high 27 laps, including the final two, to win the preseason event at Daytona for the second time. His first victory in it came during his rookie season in 2006. Hamlin concluded the 2013 Sprint Cup season with a win at Homestead.

"The best car won, that's for sure," Hamlin said. "That was survival of the fittest."

Nine of the 18 drivers competing in this race were involved in the big wreck that occurred on the frontstretch on lap 36. Tony Stewart, who made his first start since suffering a broken right leg in an accident during a sprint car race last August, was one of the drivers involved. Stewart climbed out of his car and walked away under his own power. He did not complain of any pain in his leg following the incident.

Keselowski finished second, while Busch rebounded from a spin after being tapped by Keselowski on lap 60 to finish third. Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick, who won this race last year, rounded out the top-five.

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