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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)
Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 McDonald`s Chevrolet, Kevin Harvick, driver of the #29 Budweiser Chevrolet, and Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, are involved in an incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 24, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, races to the finish line to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 24, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Fastenal Ford, Trevor Bayne, driver of the #21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford, Terry Labonte, driver of the #32 C&J Energy Services Ford, David Ragan, driver of the #34 Detail Doctor Ford, and David Gilliland, driver of the #38 Love`s Travel Stops Ford,during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 24, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Tom Pennington/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 Eckrich Ford, races Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 14, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, celebrates with his son, Keelan, in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Jimmy John`s Freaky Fast 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Jimmy John`s Freaky Fast 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Jimmy John`s Freaky Fast 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Jimmy John`s Freaky Fast 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Brian Scott, driver of the #2 Shore Lodge Chevrolet, leads thre field past the green flag to start during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Jimmy John`s Freaky Fast 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, qualified for third position Friday, September 5, 2014 for Saturday night`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, Virginia. Johnson is sixth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, pits along with the rest of the field during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 31, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, and Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Panasonic Chevrolet, lead a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 31, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmer`s Insurance Chevrolet SS, is congratulated by his Hendrik Motor Sports teammates Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Panasonic Toughbook Chevrolet SS (left), Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS (center) and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet SS (right) after his victory Sunday, August 31, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. With this win, Kahne joins Gordon, Johnson, and Earnhardt Jr. in the Chase. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, won the Pole position Friday, August 29, 2014 for Sunday`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. It was Harvick`s sixth pole win of the 2014 season. He is 7th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 29, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, finished fourth and Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet SS, finished twelfth Saturday, August 23, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/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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