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NASCAR Enjoys Publicity Jolt With Buzz Around Dale Jr.'s Daytona Win In Overdrive
Published February 25, 2014
IMPECCABLE TIMING: In Charlotte, Jim Utter writes a season of "great change in NASCAR got a jolt" with Earnhardt's victory. NASCAR "got what it wanted -- another win for the sport’s most popular driver on the track where he has shined brightest" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 2/25). In N.Y., Viv Bernstein writes the win "gave long-suffering Earnhardt fans more than a reason to celebrate." It was an "invitation to tune back in to NASCAR to follow Earnhardt as he contends, possibly, for a title for the first time in a decade." Earnhardt’s victory "virtually assures he will be in the 10-race playoff at the end of the season." Team owner Rick Hendrick: "It doesn't hurt to have him, the most popular driver, win the biggest race, the Super Bowl of our sport." Bernstein writes NASCAR could "not have made a better choice to draw attention to the sport, which has seen a drop in ticket sales and flat television ratings" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/25). ESPN's Bomani Jones said, "There's nothing better for NASCAR than a Dale Jr. win. ... Whenever he wins, it’s a big deal" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 2/24). In Jacksonville, Don Coble writes under the header, "Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Daytona 500 Exactly What The Sport Needed Most" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 2/25). In Columbus, Rob Oller offers, "Earnhardt Gives Sagging NASCAR A Needed Lift" (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 2/25). ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said he was "sure that NASCAR is thrilled" that Earnhardt won. However, he referenced the record weather delay and ratings drop from '13 and asked, "So who saw it?" ("PTI," ESPN, 2/24).
RIPPLE EFFECT AT OTHER TRACKS: Phoenix Int'l Raceway President Bryan Sperber said of this Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series The Profit On CNBC 500, "Our ticket office was much busier than we anticipated [yesterday]. Dale winning is an incredible boost for the sport at the start of the 2014 season" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 2/25). In Richmond, Paul Woody writes it is "tempting to say NASCAR needed Earnhardt to take its signature race, but it’s far more accurate to say Earnhardt needed the victory more than NASCAR needed Earnhardt to win." NASCAR "is bigger than any one driver." Perhaps there will be an “'Earnhardt bump' in attendance at the next couple of Sprint Cup races." Woody: "But will Earnhardt’s victory Sunday mean more ticket sales at Richmond in April and September? At Pocono, Dover or Texas this summer? Probably not" (RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH, 2/25).