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Viewing figures boost for Daytona 500

Danica Patrick's pole position for the Daytona 500 and her strong run in Sunday's race resulted in a boost to TV ratings in the US.
The media furore around Danica Patrick's pole position in the Daytona 500 - the first by a female driver in the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship - helped significantly boost TV viewing figures for Fox Television's coverage in the United States.

In US broadcasting language, the race achieved a 9.9/22 rating/share - meaning that an average of 16.7 million viewers comprising 22% of all TV viewers watched the race on Sunday, which ran for three hours from 1.30pm ET.

The green flag was seen by 14.3 million viewers, and ratings peaked from 4.30-4.45pm ET when 21.4 million viewers watched Johnson held off Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s in the final run down to the chequered flag. Danica Patrick was in third place at the final restart with six laps to go, and despite being shuffled back in the final charge for the line she still managed to finish in eighth place after earlier having become the first female driver ever to lead laps in the Great American Race.

An estimated 31.6 million Americans watched at least part of Sunday's Great American Race, the best for a regularly scheduled Sunday afternoon Daytona 500 since 2008's 33.5 million viewers.

As well as the media appeal of Danica Patrick, there was also the draw of the first proper race outing for the new Generation 6 stock car, styled much closer to their production model counterparts, and also victory for the popular Jimmie Johnson.

News coverage of the frightening crash at the end of the proceeding day's Nationwide Series support race, which saw 28 spectators injured after a car breached the catch fence and scattered debris into the grandstand area, may also have contributed to the upturn in viewers for the Daytona 500 itself.

Direct year-on-year comparisons are difficult because the 2012 Daytona 500 was delayed by rain until Monday evening for the first time in the event's history. The prime time race had more competition for viewers, and so the 2013 race saw a 24% rise in viewership over that anomalous occurrence.

Sunday's rating reaffirmed the Daytona 500 as one of the biggest events in sport in the US. It was the top-rated sports event on any network since the Super Bowl with more viewers than the 2012 Kentucky Derby, the final round of the 2012 US Open or the final round of the 2012 Masters.

In the UK, the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship is shown on Premier Sports TV, a subscription channel broadcasting on Sky 428 and also online.



Related Pictures

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Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, hoists the Harley J. Earl trophy after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 24, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
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lynnN

February 27, 2013 1:30 AM

I will agree that maybe the fact that she was on the pole could have boosted the viewing a bit but the couldn't have known how well she would run. Her history at Daytona hasn't been well but not because of her. I'm a fan of hers but I follow NASCAR and know she has talent and can run well there and I do believe she will show some good results this year. I just wish the media would back off some and give credit where it is due and not o her because she is a woman. She is another talented driver and that is all that needs to be said. If she comes in fifth then make no more to do about it than if Matt Kenseth comes in 5th. Enough already. The press is actually turning people against her



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