Fox drew 16.7 million total viewers for its coverage of
Sunday's Daytona 500, an increase of 22% over last year's race, which aired
during primetime, according to Nielsen.
The race was also up 24% to a 9.9 rating; both measures
scored their largest year-over-year increase in the race's history. It was the
most-watched and highest-rated since 2008 (10.2 rating, 17.8 million viewers).
Sunday's Great American Race featured Danica Patrick as the
first female to start from the pole position; she remained among the leaders
throughout the race, finishing eighth (Jimmy Johnson won, holding off runner-up
Dale Earnhardt Jr.). Female viewership was up among women 18-34 (+16%), women
18-49 (+3%) and women 25-54 (+8%). The race also rose with adults 18-49 by 7%.
Viewership interest was also piqued by a huge
multicar crash during the previous day's Nationwide Series Race, which
injured 28 fans. Sunday's race was also the official debut of the new Gen 6
Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season opener also saw a
42% ratings increase in the country's top 10 markets, with the top five markets
each rising 25% or more. The largest ratings jumps were, in order: Chicago
(+91%), San Francisco (+64%), Los Angeles (+60%), Boston (+59%), New York
(+43%), Houston (+33%) and Dallas (+25%).