Found February 24, 2013 on
The Daytona 500 takes place today and the racing world is in a frenzy with Danica Patrick starting The Great American Race from pole position. Patrick is of course the first female driver to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup pole, continuing a career of trailblazing and breaking down barriers that began in IndyCar. With Patrick making the move from IndyCar racing to NASCAR, her story (and celebrity) is being brought to a wider fanbase. Dare I say it (and with apologies to Tim Tebow), today's Daytona 500 represents new heights for DanicaMania, even compared to when she was leading the Indy 500 once upon a time.
Patrick has been everywhere this week from SportsCenter to the Today Show and countless stops in between. She was certainly a star in the IndyCar world and has been a crossover celebrity (think Maxim, GoDaddy and more) for some time, but being in NASCAR has only increased her profile. Let's face the facts, Danica Patrick was perhaps the last attention grabbing element open wheel racing had left... if you don't count Helio Castroneves' Dancing With the Stars appearances that is. NASCAR has long since lapped open wheel racing several times over in the battle for American racing supremacy and Danica needed to make the switch to continue to grow her own brand and compete in the nation's number one racing series.
Today's Daytona 500 doesn't just represent an opportunity for Danica Patrick though, it also represents a huge opportunity for NASCAR. Patrick's success on the track at Daytona is happening at just the right time for a sport that badly needs to be reinvigorated and reach a new audience once again.
NASCAR has suffered from flagging ratings for the last several years after an enormous rise in popularity at the turn of the millenium. Last season NASCAR posted its worst viewership numbers since the sport signed its current television deals with Fox, ESPN, and Turner in 2007. Only once since 2005 has the sport drawn a year to year viewership increase. Once. NASCAR has lost more than a quarter of its audience since 2006. It was that year the Daytona 500 drew its highest rating ever - an 11.3 rating for Jimmie Johnson's victory. The last three years, Daytona 500 overnights have averaged a 7.6, more than a 30% decrease.
Can Patrick draw a ratings increase? It's impossible to quantify what effect she alone can bring to NASCAR's ratings. The conversation around today's race though hasn't been higher for a decade, though. Of course, with Patrick comes a double edged sword. She receives so much media attention and hype it often turns off more hardcore racing fans while networks seek to draw in casual ones. "Danica fatigue" has even been discussed in the latter portions of this week as the race approaches today. Sure there are even those that consider Patrick the "Anna Kournikova of racing" but that's not fair to either athlete. Kournikova had a moderate amount of success on the tennis court and Patrick already has one IndyCar victory to her name and a promising NASCAR career ahead of her.
Despite grumbles from dedicated race fans upset with Patrick overshadowing the sport and the other 42 drivers, NASCAR badly needs a jump start in the ratings. But it will only happen if Patrick can contend on the racetrack. That crossover audience isn't going to tune in to watch Danica go through the motions several laps down. She needs to be at the front of the field.
For too long, the sport has been dormant. Whether that be the tinkering with the rules, Jimmie Johnson's run of dominance, or a lack of drivers that can connect with fans, or even race start times the reasons are many for NASCAR's decline on television. Last year's champ Brad Keselowski is great for the sport, but he can't do what Danica Patrick does in breaking through with fans. Nobody in the racing world can. Danica Patrick can provide the boost NASCAR needs to turn around their flagging viewership and decreasing ratings. If she contends throughout the race today and is a threat to win, you will see a significant increase in viewership versus the last several Daytona races. If she remains a contender, or at the very least a story throughout the NASCAR Sprint Cup season, she still has the capability to bring new fans to the sport at a time when NASCAR needs them most.
The key for Fox today will be balancing their coverage of the Daytona 500 to draw in those casual fans watching for Patrick while also not alienating the faithful NASCAR following. If Fox and NASCAR's other television partners can find that right tone throughout the season and appeal to new fans through Patrick while serving NASCAR's core audience, the sport may finally be able to turn back in the right direction in ratings once again.
BEST OF MAXIM
DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. -- Danica Patrick didnt get the finish she was looking for, but at least this year she finished the Daytona 500 and made history in the process.
After becoming the first woman to win a pole in the Sprint Cup Series let alone the Great American Race Patrick was competitive throughout the entire race and appeared destined to finish third before the field was...
KANNAPOLIS, N.C. – The No. 10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet SS is loaded up and ready. Crew chief Tony Gibson and the GoDaddy.com crew are ready. And, most importantly, Danica Patrick is ready for the start of her first full NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. The marathon 36-race Sprint Cup schedule begins with the 55 th Daytona 500 Feb. 24 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. And it...
getty images Sunday at Daytona International Speedway. A field of 43 cars will look to claim the victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season opener. The race is 200 laps, 500 miles around Daytona’s 2.5 mile track.
CLICK FOR GREEN FLAG AND STARTING LINEUP!
Happy Daytona 500 weekend. In honor of the Great American Race we give you our greatest hits of Danica Patrick. She’s one of the highest earning female athletes in the world, and quite possibly the most searched for female athletes on the internet. She’s a huge brand and quickly becoming the face of NASCAR.
Her the brand is a tour de fource Therefore, we write about her extensively...
Welcome to the first edition of Brandon’s World, a weekly column where I give my thoughts on the latest buzz going on in NASCAR this week. I hope you enjoy reading the column as much as I had fun writing it.
Danica Wins Daytona 500 Pole; Patrick’s Time Comes To Question By Weight
While I was abit surprised to hear that Danica Patrick won the pole for Sunday’s Daytona 500, I...
Danica Patrick is carrying a lot of labels this week.
With Danica Patrick starting from the pole, the Daytona 500's
preliminary television ratings are much higher than last
Danica Patrick finished eighth in the Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, earning the highest finishing position ever for a woman in the “Great American Race.”
The previous best finish for a woman in the Daytona 500 was 11th by Janet Guthrie in 1980.
Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas...
Fueled by a contending Danica Patrick, the Daytona 500 returned to form in the television ratings Sunday afternoon. Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Daytona 500 earned a 10.0 overnight rating on FOX, up 30 from last [...]
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, met with media and discussed his outlook for the Daytona 500, his charity involvement, new sponsorship for three races, Danica Patrick, and more.
ON NEW SPONSORSHIP
“We talked during the Media Tour about having nine races left to sell and we’re proud to announce this week that we’ve got three of those sold to...
photo credit: getty images
Danica Patrick and two-time NASCAR Nationwide Series champ Ricky Stenhouse Jr. have no problem getting cozy in front of NASCAR nation.
Before yesterday's NASCAR Nationwide practice for the DRIVE4COPD 300, Stenhouse Jr. and Patrick shared an intimate moment in her garage.
Patrick will race the #34 in Saturday's Nationwide race, and the #10 in...
The dominance of the top groove creates some seriously boring racing at Daytona. NASCAR of late has had a problem filling the stands at tracks around the country. The bloom is off the rose, so to speak. Today's Daytona 500 will not help sell the product. Jimmie Johnson held off Dale Earnhardt, Mark Martin, Brad Keselowski and Ryan Newman in one of the most boring Daytona 500...
Jimmie Johnson shows that experience can beat a rookie anytime. He claimed his second Daytona 500 as he passed Patrick on the last lap of the race. Danica had a record-setting day on the race track. She was the first women to ever finish the race. She was the first women to ever lead a lap under the green flag and she was the first women to ever start the Daytona 500 from the pole...
The biggest headline heading into Sunday’s 2013 Daytona 500 was Danica Patrick becoming the first woman to ever win the pole position. That was until Erin Andrews, who was working her way through the crowded pit road to try to interview Danica Patrick, encountered a surprise visitor—rapper 50 Cent.
That quickly led to a stunning moment reminiscent of an intoxicated Joe Namath...
Photo Credit: John Harrelson/NASCAR via Getty Images
By: Toby Christie – Follow on Twitter @Tobalical
The 55th annual Daytona 500 is in the books, and we saw just about everything. The race was packed-full of drama. The action on the track was exciting, and the crashes were breathtaking.
In the end we saw 28 lead changes among 14 different drivers, and when the dust settled there...