Dayton Ratings Success

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Fox announced early Monday morning that ratings were up 30 percent from last year’s Daytona 500, a jump that is largely attributable to Danica Patrick.

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Danica boosts Daytona’s TV ratings

There were a lot things that contributed to this year’s ratings success compared to last year (in no particular order):

#1) Last year’s race was rain delayed and on a Monday night (pretty much ensuring that this year’s 500 would have higher ratings).
#2) The fiery spectacle that was last year’s night race – maybe not many watched it live, but the Daytona 500 in general got a lot more coverage because of it.
#3) New Gen-6 Car.
#4) No more tandem racing in the Cup series.
#5) Big wreck in the Nationwide race the night before.
#6) A champion who, like him or not, is very very active and accessible on social media.
#7) Absence of animated rodentia.
#8) Historic run for Danica, starting on pole and finishing 8th.

While it’s almost impossible to quantify the impact of each of these factors (Danica can’t be solely responsible), overall, this could be the beginning of a NASCAR revival. For the past few years, my subconscious has been adding to the list of “reasons why the next race will be boring/annoying”. It’s good to start adding to the list of “reasons to be excited about racing” again.

New All Star format

Remember the All-Star race last year? No? I barely do. The one thing I do remember was that each of the 4 “heats” had a winner who was guaranteed to start up front for the final shootout. So of course, the winners of the first 3 segments were found in the back of the pack, not racing. I believe you can find our schmak of that event here.

I can’t remember what we said, but the new format revealed today has some tweaks.

They are going to take the average position of all 4 finishes, and use that to line up the drivers for the last mandatory pit stop.

Also, they are going to award a $1 million bonus if a driver manages to win all 5 segments of the race. Not likely, and I have a feeling that at least two different drivers will win in the first 3 segments, meaning that the bonus has the potential to be a big hype and not relevant for the second half of the race.

But still, the emphasis is on making it unrewarding to run in the back, so good on them. Do you think these changes will be enough to bring some excitement back to the All-Star race? Or do you think that someone will just checkout and stink up the show again?

Put this in your gyro cam and schmak it

This week’s schmak, hot on the heels of the Daytona race weekend, covers a lot of ground. We debate the naming of the duals, not once acknowledging the difference in spelling between “dual” and “duel”. We also started a new segment (well, continued an old one, but now with a name!) called “NASCAR, you’re welcome” – this week, we discussed a way in which qualifying races could spice up race weekends. We also talked about that Nationwide wreck, the Daytona 500, the gyro cam, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Jr’s surge, and Danica’s great “rookie” performance. All this and more, in the schmak. Picks for next week: Rob: Mark Martin Coach: Danica Patrick (total bandwagon pick)

Schmak Unlimited

In our inagural podcast of 2013, we here at track schmak discuss:

  • the website debacle
  • our own new and improved website
  • the new car
  • Eldora
  • Danica
  • and umm, some other stuff that I can’t remember

Picks for the Daytona 500:

Coach: Kevin Harvick

Rob: Clint Bowyer

New rules this year – once your pick wins, you are not allowed to use that pick again in the regular season.