Daytona Final Lap Sends Hamlin to Victory Lane and Newman to the Hospital

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) – Denny Hamlin won the Daytona 500 for the third time when he beat Ryan Blaney to the finish line in the second-closest finish in race history. The win for Joe Gibbs Racing came as Ryan Newman was wrecked as the leader and crossed the finish line with his car on its roof, engulfed in flames. The race was pushed back a day by rain for just the second time in 62 years and Hamlin won after two red flags and two overtimes. He’s the first back-to-back Daytona winner since Sterling Marlin in 1995.

Ryan Newman was hospitalized in serious condition but his team said Newman’s injuries were not life threatening.

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Rick Nyman grew up in Anniston, Alabama and attended the University of Alabama. His television career started at WJSU-TV in Anniston where he had the opportunity to cover SEC football with Alabama and Auburn. Anniston is just 20 minutes from the Talladega Speedway, so NASCAR was a big part of his sports coverage. Due to this he was able to interview Davey Allison, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, and several other top-name NASCAR drivers. Rick's next television job was in Savannah, Georgia, where he covered basketball player Kwame Brown (now with the Washington Wizards), who later became the first ever high school player selected as the top pick in the NBA draft. He covered the PGA Tour's annual swing thru Hilton Head and also had the opportunity of covering the Atlanta Falcons Super Bowl appearance in 1999 in Miami. Rick especially enjoys all the atmosphere, tradition and drama of college football. He also likes profiling sports personalities and learning what drives them both on and off the field. If he's not covering sports, he's either watching Seinfield or David Letterman, playing golf, reading, or working out. What he enjoys about Chattanooga is the passion people have for sports. The mountainous region of Chattanooga reminds him of his hometown of Anniston, which also has big, beautiful trees and plenty of hills. You can contact Rick at rnyman@wdef.com.