After a six-car wreck on the second lap and two yellow flags, drivers settled into a rhythm by the 35th lap of the 2012 Daytona 500. Leading way after 25 laps was Denny Hamlin, number 11, of Joe Gibbs Racing.
Hamlin led for 16 laps. His fast lap, the 24th, he did in 45.084 seconds at a speed of 199.627 mph. Behind Hamlin was Paul Menard, followed by Regan Smith, Joey Logano and Jeff Burton. Hamlin started the race in the 31st spot of the starting grid.
Hamlin has never won a Dayton 500.
The race got off to a rocky start with a six-car accident on the second lap. That took Jimmie Johnson out of the race completely. It also sent Danica Paterick, making her NASCAR Sprint Series debut, to shop for repairs, putting her in a race for time. There was a second accident on pit row involving Ryan Newman and A.J. Allmendinger. Eight of the first 12 laps were run under the caution flag.
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