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updated: 2/25/2013 12:46 PM

Huge jump in Daytona 500 television ratings

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  • Danica Patrick's eighth-place finish in the Daytona 500 helped Fox post a 30 percent increase in its television ratings for the race, according to preliminary figures. It was the highest finish ever by a female driver at the Daytona 500.

      Danica Patrick's eighth-place finish in the Daytona 500 helped Fox post a 30 percent increase in its television ratings for the race, according to preliminary figures. It was the highest finish ever by a female driver at the Daytona 500.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. With Danica Patrick starting from the pole, the Daytona 500's preliminary television ratings were much higher than last year's.

Sunday afternoon's race earned a 10.0 overnight rating and 22 share on Fox, the network said Monday. That's up 30 percent from 2012, when rain pushed the event to a Monday night. It was the highest overnight rating since 2006.

Jimmie Johnson won the race while Patrick was eighth, the best finish by a woman at the Daytona 500.

The race had plenty of buildup: Patrick making history as the first woman to start a Sprint Cup race from the pole, the revamped cars, no more tandem drafting, and a frightening crash the day before in the second-tier Nationwide Series.

"I noticed something last night coming out of the track for dinner, just seemed to be a different vibe inside the infield," said Dale Earnhardt Jr., who finished second Sunday. "People seemed more excited about what was getting ready to happen. Even today, there seemed to be a whole lot more people here. Seemed to be a lot more excitement about the race.

"That really was the biggest motivator for me. I think we're headed in the right direction. ... For some reason, it just felt like we're on the right track as a sport. That's got me really excited."

Ratings represent the percentage of all homes with televisions tuned to a program. Shares represent the percentage of all homes with TVs in use at the time. Overnight ratings measure the country's largest markets.

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