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Random Thoughts: Danica Patrick, Jamie McMurray and the Daytona 500

FOX did a great job with the Daytona 500 telecast. And while two significant delays to fix potholes could ruin your time at the track – or maybe not, if you’ve read the NASCAR fan book “The Weekend Starts on Wednesday” – it didn’t ruin the broadcast for me. Sure, I could switch over to the Winter Olympics or a college hoops game. But I thought the driver interviews during the delays were fantastic.

* FOX interviewed nearly every driver in the race, including all the top names – Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick. And they were all great. It’s just further proof that NASCAR and it’s drivers get it. Could you imagine trying to interview Alex Rodriguez or Derek Jeter during a rain delay at the World Series. It would never happen. And, oh yeah, the job of the drivers is a bit more dangerous. Don’t you think?

* Loved the part in the delay when they tapped into Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s headset communication and his crew was asking him baseball trivia questions. Who is the all-time hit leader? Peter Rose, said Junior without missing a beat.

* It’s being widely reported that Danica Patrick’s NASCAR debut was a huge success in the ratings. Here’s some info from -- According to Nielsen Media Research, the ARCA race drew 2.4 million viewers, an 87 percent increase over last year's 1.3 million. It drew a 2.30 rating (1.72 million households), a 59 percent increase on last year's 1.45 rating (1.06 million households). The rating was the highest ever for an ARCA race. We are also expecting increases from ESPN's coverage of the Nationwide race.

* So when do we get to see the HBO 24/7 series with Danica Patrick, perhaps as she prepares for the Indy 500?

* Jamie McMurray said after the win: “It just means so much. You know, for me to be in the position that I was four or five months ago, to have Chip and Felix and Bass Pro Shops welcome me into their organization, it means a lot. It's a great way for me to be able to pay those guys back. I got a big run down the backstretch again. I looked in my mirror and saw the 88. I'll be honest, I was like, crap, this guy has won a lot of races here. His family has an incredible history here. You know, I believe everything happens for a reason. I just was like, I hope this isn't his turn to win the Daytona 500, I hope this is mine.”

* The win came in McMurray’s first race back with owners Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates, making Ganassi the only team owner besides Roger Penske to win the Daytona 500, the Indy 500 and the Rolex 24 At Daytona.

* The win delivered Chevrolet its 21st victory in the Daytona 500, a record among manufacturers.

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