Long Island native celebrates Daytona 500 win
The Daytona 500 on Sunday resulted in the closest finish in race history, and one Long Island native is celebrating the photo-finish victory.
Denny Hamlin made a big move on the final lap and edged out Martin Truex Jr. by 0.01 of a second. It marked Hamlin's first Daytona 500 victory.
The win is being celebrated from Florida to Long Island's East End in Southold, the home of Hamlin's crew chief, Mike Wheeler.
Wheeler's Garage in Southold has been around since the 1930s, and has been in its current location since 1962. It was started by Wheeler's grandfather and is currently operated by his parents.
The Riverhead Raceway is where Wheeler put what he learned at the auto shop to the test, working on cars in the pit since about age 15.
Wheerler's mother Laureen says congratulatory phone calls and emails have been coming in nonstop to the auto shop. His father, Dick, used to race cars and says he couldn't be happier for his son.
News 12 spoke with Wheeler via phone. He says that despite now living in North Carolina, he'll never forget his hometown.
Wheeler is a 1997 graduate of Southold High School. He and his wife welcomed their first child three months ago.