The Daytona 500's television ratings declined as the rain-shortened race missed out on the final laps that typically draw the most viewers.
Sunday's event on Fox drew a preliminary national rating of 9.2 and a 19 share, the network said Tuesday. The last rain-shortened Daytona 500 earned a 9.8/21 in 2003.
Last year's full race drew a 10.2/20.
The rating is the percentage of all homes with televisions watching a program. The share is the percentage tuned in among households with the TV on at the time.
-- The Associated Press
Jeff Burton has plenty of driving skills, but acting skills? We'll soon find out as Burton takes on a role as himself in the ABC daytime drama "General Hospital."
Burton will visit the set of "General Hospital on Thursday and take part in scenes with Dr. Patrick Drake. Drake's character, which is played by actor Jason Thompson, is an avid racing fan on the show. Burton and Thompson’s episode is scheduled to air in mid-March.
“I’ve been in commercials and was a guest star on a sitcom a couple of years ago so I’m hoping those appearances prepped me for my soap opera debut," Burton said in a release. "Luckily, I get to play myself and talk racing, which will help take some of the pressure off.”
After the taping, Thompson will get the chance to shadow Burton before Sunday's Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. Before he takes a seat atop the No. 31 team's pit box for the race, Thompson will be treated to a pace car ride with Burton, attend pre-race festivities, the Sprint Cup driver's meeting and driver introductions.
-- Michele Vincze
NASCAR star Jeff Gordon and his mother, Carol Bickford, will appear on the "Rachael Ray" show on Tuesday, Feb. 10. The show airs in the Dallas/Fort Worth area at 9 a.m. on KTVT/Ch. 11. Bickford, who with Martha Earnhardt co-authored Pit Stop in a Southern Kitchen: Two Moms of Racing Legends Serve Up Stories and Recipes, will demonstrate how to prepare her chicken casserole from the cookbook released on Feb. 1. Gordon will assist his mom with the dish and chat with Rachael about his racing career.
-- Michele Vincze
ESPN2’s daily NASCAR news and information program NASCAR Now returns to the air for its third season on Feb. 2, to coincide with the beginning of the 2009 NASCAR racing season. The season’s first program, a one-hour roundtable discussion, airs at 4 p.m. (Central).
Mike Massaro, who has been a pit reporter on ESPN’s NASCAR coverage the past two years, moves to the studio this year as a new co-host of NASCAR Now, joining returning co-hosts Nicole Manske and Allen Bestwick. On Monday’s return episode, Bestwick leads the roundtable discussion of the latest NASCAR news with ESPN.com motorsports writer Ed Hinton and NASCAR Now lead reporter Marty Smith, and ESPN motorsports analyst and NASCAR driver Boris Said.
A five-part feature during the first week of the NASCAR Now season will tie in the 60th anniversary of NASCAR with Top 10 lists by the five former NASCAR Sprint Cup champion analysts on ESPN’s NASCAR coverage team. Dale Jarrett, the 1999 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, will reveal his Top 10 personalities in NASCAR history, while 1989 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Rusty Wallace lists his Top 10 tracks. Andy Petree, two-time champion crew chief, reveals his Top 10 drivers and two-time champion crew chief Tim Brewer lists his Top 10 finishes. Analyst Ray Evernham, a three-time champion crew chief, lists his Top 10 “coolest cars.”
Other features during the first week include conversations about NASCAR with actor Tom Cruise and Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton; a visit by driver Ryan Newman to Fort Bragg as part of his new sponsorship from the U.S. Army; and a review of NASCAR’s “Silly Season.”
During the week leading up to the Feb. 15 running of the Daytona 500, NASCAR Now airs a three-part series on NASCAR and the economy, looking through the eyes of the NASCAR fan, a NASCAR team crew member and legendary driver/team owner Richard Petty. The five weekday episodes of the program will expand to one hour during Daytona 500 week and originate from Daytona International Speedway.
Live NASCAR racing returns to the ESPN networks for the 2009 season when ESPN2 airs flag-to-flag coverage of the NASCAR Nationwide Series Camping World 300 from Daytona on Saturday, Feb. 14, at noon.
-- ESPN release
It's more than a month out, but make a note to have the TV tuned to or the DVR recording CMT on Saturday, Dec. 13 (8 p.m. Central) for the debut of the two-hour film Ride of Their Lives. The film, narrated by Kevin Costner, includes new, exclusive interviews with NASCAR personalities Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip, and tells the story of how family dynamics weaved a thread through a half-century of racing. Ride of Their Lives features never before seen footage spanning NASCAR’s entire history from the archives of NASCAR Media Group, as well as the final interview with Bill France, Jr., former NASCAR President (1972-2000) and son of NASCAR Founder Bill France. Other drivers spotlighted in the film include Dale Earnhardt, Kyle Petty, Tim Richmond and Wendell Scott.
-- CMT release
With the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series headed to Texas Motor Speedway this weekend, ESPN Classic will help NASCAR fans get ready for action on the ultra-fast superspeedway with an airing of highlights of the 2007 Dickies 500 at Texas on Thursday, Oct. 30, at noon (Central). The race, which originally aired on ABC, featured a stirring duel for the win between Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth, with Johnson eventually prevailing. ESPN Classic also will air the SportsCentury featuring NASCAR star Tony Stewart. The program airs Wednesday, Oct. 29, at 8 a.m. (Central).
-- ESPN release