The 55th running of the Daytona 500, in which Jimmie Johnson held off Dale Earnhardt Jr., was the highest-rated and most-watched race for FOX in five years, according to Nielsen Media Research.
The race scored a 9.9/22 rating/share, and averaged 16.7 million viewers, according to fast national figures released Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research, the most since 2008's 10.2/20, 17.8 million viewers. It represented a 24-percent ratings spike from last year (8.0/14), and a 22-percent gain in average viewership (13.7 million). The 2013 rating and viewership increases are the best year-to-year rise ever for the Daytona 500.
Highlights of the race included Danica Patrick's historic pole-position start, the official introduction of the Gen 6 car and Johnson's second Daytona 500 win coming in his 400th career race.
The 2013 race ranked as the top-rated sports event on any network since the Super Bowl and attracted more viewers than last week's NBA All-Star Game, the 2012 Kentucky Derby, the Final Round of the 2012 US Open and the Final Round of the 2012 Masters.