After all, Gibbs won three Super Bowls as a coach. But it has been 23 years since he has been in the
"Has Joe mentioned he wants to win the 500 yet?" said Hamlin, who joined Gibbs late for the postrace news conference.
Hamlin won the crash-filled 75-lap exhibition at Daytona International Speedway, a prelude to the 500 next Sunday.
Joey Logano finished second,
Trying to stretch his fuel mileage, Hamlin needed to buy some time, and the six cautions (for 24 laps) gave him an edge. He survived a minor accident with
An accident involving
To determine a winner under green-flag racing, any attempts in OT would be governed by an "overtime line" on the backstretch.
If drivers passed the line in the middle of the backstretch on the first lap of a green-white-checkered re-start, the race would end immediately if a caution comes out. But the overtime line was no factor because the Mears-Keselowski-Edwards crash occurred on the second lap of the white-flag lap.
"The rule really didn't come into play," Logano said.
But trash blowing all over the track did, with Logano calling it a "landfill."
A yellow light gave Keselowski a chance to attend to his smoke-billowing Ford. The car began overheating after its grill picked up a plastic bag on the track, meaning Keselowski's run was affected by littering.
The second caution came when
Vickers was evaluated and released from the infield care center.
Earnhardt, who started 23rd, was thought of as a prerace favorite.
He had recorded the fastest lap in practice Saturday at 194.116 mph in another car.
Hamlin recovered from his minor collision with Stenhouse to seize the lead briefly as the field took a mandatory pit stop after 25 laps.
The 25-car field was determined by various criteria — from previous Sprint Unlimited champions to 2015 pole sitters — and no points were at stake. Johnson won the pole for the event based on a garage-area draw.
Drivers regard the event as a dress rehearsal for next Sunday's 500.
They didn't use their 500 cars, but their backups or similar racing machines, offering them a chance to shake off the off-season rust.
The Gibbs crew won the Sprint Unlimited for the fourth time in five years, with Hamlin capturing three of them. But it's not the Granddaddy of stock-car racing.
"The 500 is just hard to win," Gibbs said. "So many things can happen. You can have real good cars, but it's a tough race to win. I'd love to get another one."