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Daytona 500 preliminary TV rating up from last year

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Monday, Feb. 25, 2013, 8:09 p.m.

With Danica Patrick starting from the pole, the Daytona 500's preliminary television ratings were much higher than last year's.

Sunday afternoon's race earned a 10.0 overnight rating and 22 share on Fox, the network said Monday. That's up 30 percent from 2012, when rain pushed the event to a Monday night. It was the highest overnight rating since 2006.

Jimmie Johnson won the race, and Patrick was eighth, the best finish by a woman at the event.

The race had plenty of buildup: Patrick making history as the first woman to start a Sprint Cup race from the pole, the revamped cars, no more tandem drafting and a frightening crash the day before in the Nationwide Series.

“I noticed something last night coming out of the track for dinner, just seemed to be a different vibe inside the infield,” said Dale Earnhardt Jr., who finished second. “People seemed more excited about what was getting ready to happen. Even today, there seemed to be a whole lot more people here. Seemed to be a lot more excitement about the race.

“That really was the biggest motivator for me. I think we're headed in the right direction. ... For some reason, it just felt like we're on the right track as a sport. That's got me really excited.”

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