Austin Dillon wins Daytona 500 in No. 3, same number as Dale Earnhardt 20 years ago

Austin Dillon won the 60th Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018. Dillon was driving the No. 3 car, the same number that was on Dale Earnhardt's car for his 1998 Daytona 500 win.
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Austin Dillon won the 60th Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018. Dillon was driving the No. 3 car, the same number that was on Dale Earnhardt's car for his 1998 Daytona 500 win.
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NASCAR & Auto Racing

NASCAR Cup Series | Results and 3 takeaways from Sunday’s Daytona 500

By Brendan Marks

bmarks@charlotteobserver.com

February 18, 2018 10:32 PM

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.

Austin Dillon won the 60th Daytona 500 on Sunday, his second career victory, but there are other implications from the race as well. Here are the three biggest takeaways from Sunday’s race:

1. NASCAR’s youth movement is for real

At 27, Dillon isn’t even the youngest rising star in NASCAR’s pipeline, but his win keeps momentum going for the sport’s next generation. Three 24-year-old drivers finished in the top 20. Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. finished second, Ryan Blaney came in seventh and Alex Bowman 17th in a depleted field. That doesn’t even count Chase Elliott, 22, or William Byron, 20; both crashed out of the race despite running well early. All of which is a long-winded way of saying that this feels like the season NASCAR’s “young stars” turn into just “stars” – and that’s exactly what NASCAR needs right now.

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2. Impressive start for the new Chevrolet

Last season, it took a few races before the new Toyota Camry was up and running to its full potential. That led many to expect a similar grace period for this season’s new car, the Chevy Camaro. So much for that. Elliott gave us a taste of the new Camaro’s potential during Thursday’s qualifying duels, but that was only the beginning. Both Dillon and Wallace drove it with success on Sunday, and ultimately three of the top-five finishers were Chevrolets (with one Toyota and Ford, too). Now, expectations should be tempered. Daytona is a restrictor-plate track (which along with Talladega makes it one of NASCAR’s most unpredictable), and a large portion of the field crashed out. Which brings us to ...

3. A great race, but ...

What did we really learn about this season tonight? Probably not as much as some would like to think. Are the young drivers good? Yes ... but we already sort of knew that, right? Is the new Chevy good? Yes... but again, we knew that was coming, too. Realistically, it won’t be until next weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway that we see how good these cars are. There figure to be fewer wrecks, less craziness and more traditional driving that fits a 1.5-mile track. There, you’ll see which cars have the pure speed needed to collect stage points and wins over the long haul. Maybe it’s the young guns and the Chevrolets that stand out there too, but there’s also a good chance we see more of a return to the average. Again, we won’t know until Atlanta.

The memory of NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt's 1998 victory at Daytona International Speedway isn't far from driver Austin Dillon's memory. In fact, Dillon can watch the victory through a window at the team's shop, where it plays continuously. Twent

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Daytona 500

The full race results from Associated Press:

Sunday

At Daytona International Speedway

Daytona Beach, Fla.

Lap length: 2.50 miles

(Start position in parentheses)

1. (14) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 207 laps, 0 rating, 42 points.

2. (7) Darrell Wallace Jr, Chevrolet, 207, 0, 39.

3. (2) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 207, 0, 35.

4. (5) Joey Logano, Ford, 207, 0, 41.

5. (21) Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 207, 0, 32.

6. (16) Paul Menard, Ford, 207, 0, 42.

7. (3) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 207, 0, 48.

8. (13) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 207, 0, 29.

9. (22) Michael McDowell, Ford, 207, 0, 39.

10. (20) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 207, 0, 27.

11. (37) Aric Almirola, Ford, 206, 0, 33.

12. (29) Justin Marks, Chevrolet, 206, 0, 0.

13. (18) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 206, 0, 28.

14. (39) David Gilliland, Ford, 206, 0, 0.

15. (10) Clint Bowyer, Ford, 206, 0, 22.

16. (19) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 205, 0, 21.

17. (1) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 205, 0, 29.

18. (24) Martin Truex Jr, Toyota, 205, 0, 30.

19. (38) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 204, 0, 18.

20. (34) Gray Gaulding, Toyota, 204, 0, 17.

21. (27) Jeffrey Earnhardt, Chevrolet, 204, 0, 16.

22. (40) Mark Thompson, Ford, 203, 0, 15.

23. (33) William Byron, Chevrolet, 203, 0, 14.

24. (30) D.J. Kennington, Toyota, 201, 0, 13.

25. (12) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 200, 0, 12.

26. (11) Kurt Busch, Ford, accident, 198, 0, 21.

27. (36) Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, accident, 198, 0, 10.

28. (25) Brendan Gaughan, Chevrolet, accident, 198, 0, 9.

29. (9) Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Ford, accident, 197, 0, 15.

30. (15) David Ragan, Ford, accident, 107, 0, 7.

31. (6) Kevin Harvick, Ford, accident, 105, 0, 10.

32. (31) Brad Keselowski, Ford, accident, 102, 0, 5.

33. (4) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, accident, 101, 0, 7.

34. (26) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, accident, 101, 0, 3.

35. (28) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, accident, 101, 0, 2.

36. (8) Erik Jones, Toyota, accident, 59, 0, 1.

37. (17) Daniel Suarez, Toyota, accident, 59, 0, 1.

38. (35) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, accident, 59, 0, 1.

39. (23) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, accident, 59, 0, 1.

40. (32) Corey Lajoie, Chevrolet, engine, 8, 0, 1.

Darrell "Bubba" Wallace Jr., NASCAR’s only black driver, broke down with his mother and sister after finishing second in his first career Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018.

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Race Statistics

Average Speed of Race Winner: 150.551 mph.

Time of Race: 3 hours, 26 minutes, 15 seconds.

Margin of Victory: 0.260 seconds.

Caution Flags: 8 for 37 laps.

Lead Changes: 24 among 14 drivers.

Lap Leaders: A.Bowman 0;D.Hamlin 1-10;J.Marks 11;Ku.Busch 12-14;A.Bowman 15-22;E.Jones 23-33;R.Stenhouse 34-44;C.Elliott 45-48;J.Logano 49-51;Ku.Busch 52-62;A.Bowman 63-67;R.Blaney 68-93;P.Menard 94;M.Truex 95-98;R.Blaney 99-122;A.Allmendinger 123;R.Blaney 124-170;D.Hamlin 171-173;R.Blaney 174-193;D.Hamlin 194;Ku.Busch 195-196;R.Blaney 197;D.Hamlin 198-205;A.Almirola 206;A.Dillon 207

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Led, Laps Led): R.Blaney, 5 times for 113 laps;D.Hamlin, 4 times for 18 laps;Ku.Busch, 3 times for 13 laps;A.Bowman, 3 times for 11 laps;E.Jones, 1 time for 10 laps;R.Stenhouse, 1 time for 10 laps;C.Elliott, 1 time for 3 laps;M.Truex, 1 time for 3 laps;J.Logano, 1 time for 2 laps;A.Allmendinger, 1 time for 0 laps;A.Almirola, 1 time for 0 laps;A.Dillon, 1 time for 0 laps;J.Marks, 1 time for 0 laps;P.Menard, 1 time for 0 laps.

Wins: A.Dillon, 1.

Top 16 in Points: 1. R.Blaney, 48;2. A.Dillon, 42;3. P.Menard, 42;4. J.Logano, 41;5. M.McDowell, 39;6. D.Wallace, 39;7. D.Hamlin, 35;8. A.Almirola, 33;9. C.Buescher, 32;10. M.Truex, 30;11. A.Bowman, 29;12. R.Newman, 29;13. T.Bayne, 28;14. A.Allmendinger, 27;15. C.Bowyer, 22;16. Ku.Busch, 21.

NASCAR Driver Rating Formula

A maximum of 150 points can be attained in a race.

The formula combines the following categories: Wins, Finishes, Top-15 Finishes, Average Running Position While on Lead Lap, Average Speed Under Green, Fastest Lap, Led Most Laps, Lead-Lap Finish.