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"There’s a lot to be disappointed about, but there’s a lot to be happy about," Hamlin said. "I had to wing it those last 150 laps on my own. With not having a spotter there on that last green-white-checkered, I didn’t know whether to back up more."
Rookie Dillon slumped in his chair, staring across the room at a television screen that was showing highlights of the Daytona 500. He was in a bunch of them — and they were mostly negative.
Dillon started on the pole in the famed No. 3, taking the late Dale Earnhardt’s number out of mothballs and back to the top of the scoring tower. He got significant attention leading into the season opener, but it faded along with his position on the track. Dillon dropped as low as 39th before working his way back through the field and finishing ninth. In between, he started two wrecks that knocked out several cars and was involved in another.
"I think the yellow stripes on the bumper showed a little bit tonight," said Dillon, who made contact with teammate Ryan Newman and fellow rookie Kyle Larson in separate incidents.
Dillon’s teammates didn’t fare much better, making it a long night for RCR. Newman was in two crashes and came home 22nd. Brian Scott was in three crashes and finished 25th. Paul Menard also wrecked and crossed the line 32nd.
Jimmie Johnson was hailed as the Daytona 500 champion all over the place Sunday — he was trending on Twitter and even had friends congratulating him via text message — despite the race being in a rain delay.
Showers halted the race after 38 laps, and it resumed more than six hours later. Johnson eventually finished fifth, but someone probably believes he won.
Fox Sports showed a replay of last year’s season opener, the one in which Johnson won his second 500. Fox ran an intermittent crawl across the bottom of the screen, saying the 2013 race was being shown while Sunday’s race was being delayed because of rain. But thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands, of people failed to get the message. Johnson’s phone started blowing up with congratulatory texts while he was hanging out in his motorhome.
Fox News, for one, erroneously reported Johnson’s victory. And several Fox affiliates relayed the bad information.
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