Rain, fire, Twitter make winning formula for NASCAR

Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet, Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, and Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Dodge, spin after an on-track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 27, 2012 in Daytona Beach, Fla. A tweeting driver and rain delays helped boost the profile of NASCAR at the Daytona 500.

Cars race during a NASCAR event at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla.

Kai Ryssdal:If you've ever watched a car race, you know they can be humdrum affairs that drag on forever. The 54th annual running of the Daytona 500 yesterday was no humdrum affair -- at least until the last couple of laps. But it really did drag on forever. Rain forced a Sunday cancellation, a postponement of the rescheduled Monday start, and then after a few more rain delays and a spectacular crash that took two hours to clean up.The flagship NASCAR race finally ended in the wee small hours of this morning. Bad as those less-than-ideal conditions were, they might have created a winning scenario for NASCAR, its sponsors and one very digitally-focused driver.

Marketplace's Jennifer Collins reports.


Jennifer Colins: Bad weather could have been a disaster for the Daytona 500. Now NASCAR may be praying for a little rain. The delays pushed the race into primetime. Around 14 million people tuned in. NASCAR left its TV competition pretty much in the dust.

Jason Lai: Besides "The Voice," it really did beat out everything and it kind of worked out for NASCAR.

Jason Lai is vice president of Hands On Sports & Entertainment. He says the dramatic collision between a racecar and a vehicle filled with fuel brought in even more viewers.

Fox Sports' Mike Joy: And now... Juan Pablo Montoya has crashed and gone aflame.

Darrell Waltrip: Holy cow, What happened?

Driver Brad Keselowski tweeted pics from the race track of the huge fireball ahead of him. He tripled his twitter following and many of the races sponsors cashed in. Miller Light was prominently featured in Keselowski's slideshow of his day at the track. Every instant replay of the crash included Sprint's Logo. And who doesn't know Tide was brought in to help clean up the jet fuel?

Lai: All that can be monetized by their business teams.

So what does this social media moment mean for the rest of the NASCAR season? Matt Taliaferro with Athlon Sports Communication says it may mean more sponsors for some teams.

Matt Taliaferro: They still don't have funding for every single race of the season.

And there are a lot of races to go. 

I'm Jennifer Collins for Marketplace.

About the author

Jennifer Collins is a reporter for the Marketplace portfolio of programs. She is based in Los Angeles, where she covers media, retail, the entertainment industry and the West Coast.

Cars race during a NASCAR event at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla.

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