Fox’s coverage of Sunday’s Daytona 500 averaged a 10.1 rating/20 share and 17.53 million viewers, according to fast national numbers.
The figures fell from last year’s record numbers on NBC, when NASCAR’s season-opening race averaged an 11.3/23 and 9.35 million viewers while drafting off of NBC's coverage of the Torino Olympics.
Despite this year’s race being the shortest in terms of running time since 1995, it still ranked as the fifth highest rated and most-watched Daytona 500 in the event’s 49-year history.
The ratings peaked at a 12.0/22 from 7-7:12 p.m. ET, when a wild finish saw Kevin Harvick outlast Mark Martin by .02 seconds as a massive wreck took place behind them, causing one car to skid across the finish line while actually upside down and on fire.
The race bled over into the first half-hour of prime time, helping Fox to second place on Sunday night
The five markets with the highest ratings were Greenville, S.C. (22.1 rating), Greensboro, N.C. (22.0), Indianapolis (21.6), Charlotte (20.6) and Orlando (20.1).