Daytona 500: Trump Helps NASCAR Ratings Eclipse 2019 Race Despite Postponement

Sunday's Daytona 500 may have been cut short due to the rain in Florida, but the numbers reveal that this was still a popular event among viewers. Millions tuned in so they could watch the NASCAR action, as well as the appearance by President Donald Trump. The president was serving as the grand marshal of the event, and he led a lap around Daytona International Speedway.

According to Adam Stern of the Sports Business Journal, the FOX broadcast of the Daytona 500 on Sunday earned 10.935 million viewers for the 20 laps that took place. This was a 19-percent increase over the 2019 race's full-race average of 9.184 million.

The report also states that the initial viewership of Sunday's brief race was 11.193 million viewers, up 32 percent from 2019. There was an excess of viewers for the pre-race festivities that included the president giving the command to "start your engines."

"Well we know a certain group of fans and new fans didn't bother to watch," one NASCAR fan wrote on Twitter. "They turned to their SM and blasted all things POTUS! It's on though. 11.193 is a kick a– #! I'll take it!"

There were many on social media that actually attributed the extra viewers to Trump and his appearance at the Great American Race. These fans believed that having the president on hand for the event resulted in certain perks.

"@POTUS brought a lot of eyeballs to the race. It's a shame the weather had to ruin it," another NASCAR fan added to the conversation. They want to see professional racing continue to find success and are happy that the president's appearance potentially played a role in the extra viewers.

That being said, there was one fan that believed the president had nothing to do with the boost in ratings. In their opinion, the extra viewers were owed to Darius Rucker performing during the pre-race festivities. The NASCAR fans just wanted to watch him sing "Wagon Wheel" before the 40 racers headed to their stock cars and the track.


The race was postponed after this initial 20-lap stretch due to the rain, which meant that the final 180 laps would take place on Monday. There weren't as many viewers expected for this restart due to work schedules. Although the Daytona 500 was moved to President's Day, which meant that there could be extra viewers.

(Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)