The Danica Effect: 4.2 Million People Watched Her NASCAR Debut

Whether Danica Patrick is all hype or not, people are tuning in to find out.

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ESPN says it set a record for NASCAR's second-tier Nationwide Series on Saturday when Danica made her NASCAR debut: The race was the most-watched cable telecast in series history.

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ESPN2 had an average of 4.2 million viewers during the race and a 3.2 rating. The previous record was TNT's 2006 Daytona telecast, which had 3.9 million viewers.

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Interestingly enough, ESPN says viewers stayed with the telecast even after Danica wrecked out. It peaked with a 3.5 rating for the last 20 minutes of the race as Tony Stewart won.

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The rating was up 33 percent from last year's race.

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