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Daytona Crash That Injured Fans Drew Record Viewers To 'Speed Center'

Speed Center, the flagship news program on the Speed channel, posted its highest ever Nielsen rating on Saturday (Feb. 23) to watch coverage of the last-lap Nationwide Series crash that resulted in injuries to race fans from debris entering the stands.

Speed -- the Fox Sports Media Group outlet that reportedly is being reprogrammed into Fox Sports 1 later this spring -- said its extended live coverage from Daytona International Speedway drew a 0.95 rating or 1,107,000 viewers on a live plus same day basis.

Much of the viewing was driven to Speed from social media mentions of the channel: the channel reported being mentioned on Twitter 5,000 following the crash. The network itself contributed to the social-media buzz, especially after tweeting that it would have live coverage of the NASCAR press conference and once videos of the incident began circulating, Speed VP of media relations Erik Arneson told Multichannel News.

Speed Center first cut into regularly scheduled programming (a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series final practice) at 4:45 p.m. ET and then came on at 5:15 p.m. with Adam Alexander hosting, Krista Voda reporting from the speedway infield media center, Bob Dillner (pictured above) reporting from the scene and Wendy Venturini reporting from Halifax Medical Center, where 12 of the injured race fans had been taken, Speed said. At least 28 fans in all were reported injured, the Charlotte Observerreported.

Analyst and former driver Kyle Petty offered analysis from the track, while editor-in-chief Tom Jensen collected news and information. Speed pre-empted several shows (Trackside, Superbike Family and the lead-in to a live Supercross race) to stay with Speed Center from 5:15-7:30 p.m. ET, Arneson said.