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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)
Crew chief Chad Knaus inspects the car of Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, after a crash during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 13, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire.  (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, lead the field at the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 13, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, crashes in the early part of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 13, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, qualifies second Friday, July 11, 2014 for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, qualifies second Friday, July 11, 2014 for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
 
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, qualifies second Friday, July 11, 2014 for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
 
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS, qualifies fourth Friday, July 11, 2014 for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
 
Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 McDonald`s Chevrolet SS, qualifies fifth Friday, July 11, 2014 for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 United States Air Force Ford, walks through the garage area prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Scott Halleran/NASCARA via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, and Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, lead a group of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Patriotic Chevrolet, climbs from his car after being involved in an on track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, is involved in an incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/NASCAR via Getty Images)
A large incident occurs in turn three during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Daniel Shirey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 United States Air Force Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 after the race was called for weather at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 United States Air Force Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 after the race was called for weather at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 United States Air Force Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 after the race was called for weather at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Hellmann`s Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Subway Firecracker 250 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 4, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Scott Halleran/NASCAR via 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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