Fox News and ESPN misreport Daytona 500 winner, hilarity ensues

ESPNW, Fox News fooled by Daytona 500 replay that aired on Fox Network

2/24/14 in NASCAR   |   JoeKukura   |   488 respect

Blog Photo - Fox News and ESPN misreport Daytona 500 winner, hilarity ensuesCongratulations are in order for Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who won the Daytona 500 Sunday following a painfully long six-hour rain delay -- the longest rain delay in the race's history. But congratulations went out to Jimmie Johnson, last year's Daytona 500 winner. You see, Fox Sports killed time on air during the rain delay by replaying the 2013 Daytona 500. An onscreen announcement made it very clear to viewers that "You are now watching coverage of last year's Daytona 500". Coverage of today's race will resume".

But in an intentional hoax that would have made Orson Welles proud, the replay telecast still fooled thousands of viewers -- and it also fooled Fox Sports' sister channel Fox News and ESPN's "women's" web site ESPNW. Fox News tweeted congratulations to Johnson when the telecast of last year's replay ended, and ESPNW tweeted congratulations to Danica Patrick for her 8th place finish -- also last year.

Nascar fans nationwide were fooled by the replay of the 2013 Daytona 500, and Jimmie Johnson started receiving congratulatory text messages whikle the race was still on rain delay. "I hear I won the #Daytona500?’’ Johnson tweeted during the delay. ‘‘Haha! I also have friends confused and texting congratulations to me."

Blog Photo - Fox News and ESPN misreport Daytona 500 winner, hilarity ensuesAmong these would have been Fox News, who tweeted "This just in. Jimmie Johnson wins the Daytona 500 for the third time in his career. He previously won in 2013 and 2006." Several local Fox outlets repeated the claim, according to the Los Angeles Times, and Fox issues the above apology on their Facebook page. Oh, the 4,424 comments on that post make for entertaining reading.

ESPN's "female sports-centric site" ESPNW also got swept away in the replay. "Congrats to Danica Patrick" ESPNW tweeted. "The highest finish for any woman ever at the Daytona 500." They did not realize they were referring to last year's 8th place finish. Danica was relegated 40th place yesterday after hitting a wall when another car hit hers.

Hilariously, the rain-delayed race was sponsored by the upcoming Russell Crowe move "Noah" -- a retelling of the biblical story of Noah and the flood.
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