Dramatic Daytona hits ratings high

The tragedy-marred Daytona 500 scored its highest ratings since 1979 for newcomer Fox Sports.

The NASCAR race, which was overshadowed by the death of driver Dale Earnhardt, scored a 10.0 rating/24 share in households, according to fast-national data from Nielsen Media Research. That was a 19% jump from CBS' coverage a year ago (8.4/22) and best household result since the 1979 Daytona 500 which scored a 10.5/29 for CBS.

Fox, which is in the first year of an eight-year $1.6 billion package with NASCAR, also attracted Daytona's highest men 18-49 and men 25-54 ratings ever. Sunday's race averaged a 10.6 rating in men 18-49, up 20% from CBS' 8.8 a year ago. And in men 25-54, the race averaged an 11.4, up 30% from last year.
- Joe Schlosser