NASCAR & Auto Racing

Bad weather, competitive Bowyer lift Daytona 500 ratings in Kansas City

Denny Hamlin burns his tires after winning a NASCAR Daytona 500 auto race Sunday, Feb. 17, 2019, at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)
Denny Hamlin burns his tires after winning a NASCAR Daytona 500 auto race Sunday, Feb. 17, 2019, at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara) AP

Bad weather often makes for good TV ratings. So it was with Kansas City and the Daytona 500.

With the region blanketed in snow, viewers tuned in to NASCAR’s season-opening race on FOX. The Kansas City market’s overnight rating of 11.1 was a 54 percent increase over the previous year’s viewership, according to TV ratings provider Nielsen.

The increase was the nation’s largest among the nation’s 56 metered markets. Second on the improvement list was Oklahoma City, with a 44 percent increase.

Also in Kansas City’s favor was the competitive race that was run by Clint Bowyer of Emporia, Kan. He was running fifth with two laps remaining when he make contact with another car — a bump that started a nine-car wreck and forced the race into overtime, without Bowyer participating. He finished 20th.

“This was my best foot forward I’ve ever had here,” Bowyer said after the race. “We had a shot at it, and I took it.”

The top five markets overall for the race, which was won by Denny Hamiln, were Greensboro, N.C. (15.1), Greenville, S.C., (13.6), Knoxville, Tenn., (11.9), Charlotte (11.2) and Kansas City.

The race drew a national overnight rating of 5.5, which was an 8 percent improvement over the previous year, when the event aired opposite the Winter Olympics. But this year’s race was down 15 percent from 2017 (6.5).

The race topped the NBA All-Star Game (5.0) on TBS and TNT in overnight ratings in metered markets.

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