This article is part of our NASCAR Barometer series.
Denny Hamlin won his second Daytona 500 in a chaotic day that saw the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas sweep the top three finishing positions ahead of the heavily favored Ford-powered machines. Single-file racing throughout the week building up to Sunday's Daytona 500 was thrown to the wayside immediately when the green flag waved on Sunday's race. Not only did the track support multiple grooves, but the inside line seemed to be the preference early despite the high line being the favorite all week prior.
The first two stages of Sunday's race proved to be relatively quiet, but the carnage came in the final miles. Multiple large-scale crashes in the final laps turned the race into a battle for survival that teammates Hamlin and Kyle Busch seemed to navigate with ease. Nearly every other contender fell into trouble, and that left Hamlin and Busch to challenge for the win among themselves. Joey Logano was the closest Ford but didn't have the partnership he needed to mount a serious charge. Instead, Joe Gibbs Racing put three of its cars into the top finishing positions to start their season off on the best possible foot.
This week in Atlanta the series introduces its new rule package. The cars will run tapered spacers that are intended to reduce horsepower. Additional aerodynamic changes will allow cars to draft much closer as if they were at Daytona or Talladega. The rules are set to make the racing more pack-like and could produce unexpected outcomes. Fantasy players