Denny Hamlin won the NASCAR Daytona 500 in a race overshadowed by a massive 21-car pile-up in Florida on Sunday.

Hamlin took the chequered flag to win the event for the second time in four years, but the race will be remembered for a huge crash that wiped out more than half of the 40-strong field.

With just 10 laps of the 500-mile race to run, Paul Menard collided with Matt DiBenedetto to set the chain of events in motion.

Menard was battling for fifth position and attempted a ‘bump and run’ on his rival, but the move backfired.

The event was stopped for 25 minutes but, remarkably, no driver was injured in the accident.

“That was my bad,” Menard, who apologised to DiBenedetto after the crash, told Fox. “I wrecked a lot of cars and I feel bad about that.

“It was go time, and I was pushing the number 95 car and it looked like he was trying to get to the middle and I started trying to get to the outside and just barely hooked him.”

The crash took place in the closing stages of the raceThe crash took place in the closing stages of the race (Phelan M.Ebenhack/AP)

Hamlin led Kyle Busch and Erik Jones in a one-two-three clean sweep for Joe Gibbs Racing.

JD Gibbs, who co-founded the team with his father, died last month after a degenerative neurological disease.