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Fans Voice Their Feelings on Daytona 500 and Fox TV Coverage

By admin | February 25, 2013

 It seems as if Danica-mania both helped and hurt this year’s Daytona 500

By Richard Allen

NASCAR’s premier race is the Daytona 500, and needless to say, it is important for the event to be well received by both those who attend in person and those who watch on television. Based on the ratings that have come in and on an informal poll conducted by this writer, opinions are mixed.

According to preliminary reports, viewership was 30% higher this year than in 2012. A number of factors likely contributed to the drastic increase.

The fact that Danica Patrick had become the first female driver to ever earn a Daytona 500 pole starting position almost certainly drew in more viewers. That was aided by the qualifying process for this race which determines the top-2 starting spots a full week in advance of the main event. That provided time for considerable promotion leading into the race itself.

Additionally, the Daytona 500 did not run at its normal time last year due to rain. The race had to be moved to Monday night with little time to get the word out. Further, 2012 ratings were likely affected by a long delay in the race when a jet dryer was struck and exploded while on the track.

Sunday’s race had a number of key elements needed to make for an entertaining event. The finish was in doubt right up to the waving of the checkered flag. There was strategy involved regarding late race fuel and tire management. The highly promoted pole sitter remained in contention throughout the full 500 mile distance. And, there were crashes for those who look for those type incidents.

However, there were drawbacks as well. Those previously mentioned crashes eliminated fan favorites such as Tony Stewart, Kasey Kahne, Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards. The depletion of star power may have caused some to lose interest or see the race in a more negative light.

Also, there was very little passing to take place through long stretches of the race’s middle sections. For lap after lap, cars rode around in a long nose-to-tail string with no real action to speak of.

Immediately after the race, I posed the question on Twitter of what grade the Daytona 500 should be given. I followed that up approximately 24 hours later on both Twitter and Facebook. Reactions were mixed, but there were more average and below average marks than high.

In all, 66 people responded. Only one person rated the race as an ‘A’ while six respondents gave the event a ‘B’. A total of 25 followers rated the race as an average ‘C’.

But on the negative side, 21 followers said the race deserved a grade of ‘D’ and another 13 more determined the biggest race of the season was a failing ‘F’.

Among the biggest complaints were the fact that there was not very much passing until the final 20 laps, the respondents favorite driver had a bad day or that their guy(or girl) didn’t win. No doubt, had a driver such as Dale Earnhardt, Jr. or Tony Stewart won, those fans would have scored the race higher.

Granted, this was a very small sample size and the method for obtaining data was less than scientific to say the least. All in all, it’s obviously good for NASCAR that the early ratings were higher than last year. But at the same time, it can’t be a good sign that so many were willing to voice negative thoughts immediately after the race’s conclusion.

Along with the race itself, I also asked followers to rate Fox’s broadcast of the race. One concern I’ve heard in recent years is that races may be viewed negatively because of the coverage.

Not as many people responded on the Fox poll but the percentages were somewhat similar. There were two ‘A’ grades for Fox while four viewers gave the network a ‘B’. Ten people rated the TV aspect of the race as a ‘C’. There were eleven ‘D’ grades and six ‘F’ scores.

Several respondents praised Fox’s newest innovation, the Gyro-Cam. It was also said that the network did the best it could with what they had to work with, referring to the race itself.

Negative comments centered around the amount of coverage given to Danica Patrick and the overly simplistic explanations included within the broadcast. Also, analyst Darrell Waltrip was criticized by virtually every person who graded the coverage as a ‘D’ or ‘F’.

It seems safe to say that NASCAR had a large audience for its biggest event. But at the same time, the sport did not seem to put its best foot forward, at least according to the followers who took the time to respond to my unscientific poll.




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18 Responses to “Fans Voice Their Feelings on Daytona 500 and Fox TV Coverage”

  1. Richard Allen Says:
    February 25th, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    So what did you think of the Daytona 500?

    What did you think of Fox’s coverage?

  2. Russ Says:
    February 25th, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    Didn’t get to watch as I had to work. However, as for the viewers: it was almost a perfect storm in Nascar’s favor.
    1. A attractive woman makes history by winning the pole position.

    2. Drama, injuries and life and death situations, less than 24 hours before the 500.

    3. The much heralded new car.

    4. First race of the year.

    So its no shock that it would have a large uptick.

    We shall see what the rest of the year brings.

  3. Niklas Says:
    February 26th, 2013 at 5:20 am

    During the Daytona 500 I was a little bit bored, because of the no end commercials by FOX, but on Monday and today I think it was a good race and the package of the Gen6 is good, the problem is the track! Daytona needs bumps and then, we will see a good race in my opinion, like Dale Jr. said it.

    All in all I think it wasn’t the best Daytona 500, but not the worst Daytona 500 too. It was good.

  4. Henry Says:
    February 26th, 2013 at 7:41 am

    I missed 180 laps, but I didn’t miss anything. Stop talking, you know, to the drivers, you know, they don’t say anything, you know. Just watch the races and take notes of how bipolar the suits that run the show act. Throw the yellow, don’t throw the yellow. Reagan can’t run below the line to win, but Tony Stewart can run below the line to win. Are the suits bipolar, or just bat crap crazy?

  5. Chris Fiegler Says:
    February 26th, 2013 at 8:25 am

    I think that the Command to Start your Engines By James Franco was absolutely Terrible. He should of said Gentlemen & Danica Start You Engines. “Drivers, Start your Engines would been good enough.

  6. Sue Rarick Says:
    February 26th, 2013 at 8:27 am

    I have always looked at the 500 as more of a chess match than a normal race. So to me it was like the racing I first watched back in the 60’s 70’s etc.

    I also think the drivers were a bit cautious because of what happened Saturday.

    Sadly, I think Saturday’s accident gave the 500 a lot more publicity than it normally gets and there might have been an upsurge because people wanted to see if it would happen again.

  7. Tony Geinzer Says:
    February 26th, 2013 at 8:41 am

    I feel that we are spared from JT Taylor and JT Timberlake,Rich, but, the fact, is FOX never has a good track record in Race Coverage and the fact all them celebrities where there was no help and James Franco (Or Any Other Celeb) isn’t welcome back without knowing their NASCAR History.

  8. Ray Fitzgerald Says:
    February 26th, 2013 at 9:09 am

    Like a lot of races, I watch the beginning, then do something else for a while, like go to the gym or work on the yard or watch baseball (in the summer).
    Then I watch the end. IMO races are too long with nothing happening.

    That said, I thought the last 20 laps or so were very good, in that I was anticipating something was going to happen. Then when FOX went to a long break with 12 laps to go, it *issed me off. Even though they had a small window showing the race.

    My pick was Mark Martin, so I was happy to see him do well and work with Jr.

    I’d give the race that I saw a B, and FOX a D. Tired of seeing DW, thankfully MW was not there.

  9. steven Says:
    February 26th, 2013 at 11:18 am

    Way too much DW. Way too much Danica. Way too little passing.

  10. Pamm in MI Says:
    February 26th, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    I haven’t listened to a Fox race in yrs. I always listen to Sirius radio. DW’s non-stop blathering has driven me away, along w/the addition of Mikey. I have the race on TV in the background while I get my real info from Twitter. Too many in-car shots, not enough wide shots. I give them a D. And their side-by-side is a joke!!

  11. Jesse Says:
    February 26th, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    I still don’t understand why DW and Mikey are so loved by Fox and Speed and we can not stand them, DW can say what you want him to say about Jr, but the truth is he wants Toyota to win so bad.

  12. Bill B Says:
    February 26th, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    The race was forgettable. I’ll give it a C.

    Fox’s broadcast was annoying. I’ll give it a D. And yes, they could probably bump that grade up if they’d stop talking about Danica so much and put a muzzle on Waltrip 25% of the time. The boogity thing is so played. Wendys gave up the “Where’s the beef” slogan, Geico gave up the cavemen, etc.. Slogans and pop culture cliches have their run and then they go to the wayside. Why can’t Darrell and Fox figure that out?

  13. Offkilter Says:
    February 26th, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    C. I’ve seen worse, but i’ve seen much better. I always thought the best plate racing ever was with the car that had the blade on the roof and big plates. Single car passes for everyone. All cup races need to be shortened. Make them a sprint and not a marathon and action will pick up. However, there is probably no hope for michigan or california. The only fix for those tracks is dynamite.
    Darrel is a good ole boy, but i wish he’d do everybody a favor and retire from the booth. He can always go micro manage his car lots in franklin and annoy those poor souls.

  14. Tom Rosselle Says:
    February 26th, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    Best way I can describe this race was very boring won by as equally boring driver.

    As far as the broadcast I just wish that the Mouthrup brothers would go away. Also, the Hollywood hotel should be closed once the race starts.

    Race a C broadcast an F.

  15. Steve Says:
    February 27th, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Single file parade with creative debris cautions tells the story of how boring this race was (debris cautions at Daytona? Really?) The race gets a generous grade of C from me

    And when I saw 50 cent trying to make out with Erin Andrews during FOX’s prerace, I knew we were in for a long day. For a sport that is trying to shed its red neck image and attract more fans, why does Nascar still allow DW his boogities? Talk about scaring off new fans before the race even gets started. Also, does DW know that IndyCars are faster than Cup cars and as a result Danica can handle those speeds at Daytona. Listening to him, I got the feeling he was clueless to that fact.

    FOX hasn’t proved to me one bit that their coverage will be any better this year than last. In fact, I expect far more commericals this year since they signed this big contract that they need to now pay for. Now we have this new in car camera. Do they even listen to the fans? Fans don’t want more in car cameras, they want more wide shots of the action. FOX gets an F for their coverage this week.

  16. b Says:
    February 27th, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    The D word (Danica) 25,000.00 times, I think DW credited her with a cure for (fill in the blank). The whole news team saying DANICA over and over, was a real insult to real fans. DW is biased and is a self promoter, I don’t care if “Mikey” owns his own team he still sounds like a blooming idiot and is offensive. Side stories started, never to be hear of again..well we know why..DANICA, dang these people are stupid.

  17. matt Says:
    February 27th, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    the fox coverage is HORRIBLE they get F Darrell always builds the races up to be the greatest race we have ever seen when in fact that was worst Daytona 500 since 1990 and they acted like they were doing us fans a favor by having side by side coverage for first and last two series of commercials I call bull on that crap they need to watch a ESPN broadcast to see how a race should be televised

  18. mac Says:
    February 27th, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    Iam a long time race fan, that said I will not watch another race on fox. When they went to brake for the third time on lap 23, I started counting laps between brakes and the most I counted was 7. I want to see the race not ads!!!!!!!!!!