Here's some news NASCAR fans haven't heard much in the last few years: The TV ratings for a major race were up significantly.
FOX says it got an 8.2 overnight rating for Sunday's Daytona 500, which is up 17 percent over last year's pothole-marred 7.0 rating and up three percent over 2009's 8.0 rating.
Clearly, that's great news for a sport which has been in a significant slump in ratings and attendance recently. After the Chase ratings were off 25 percent in some cases last year, there was real concern that longtime fans had gone and would never come back.
And when the two-car drafts became the story of Speedweeks, some theorized fans would tune out after losing the traditional pack racing.
But the increased rating – which should get even higher when the final numbers come in – not only speaks to the compelling nature of Sunday's race, but will provide some positive momentum heading into Phoenix.
It's too early to tell if this is the beginning of a turnaround, but it's a good start.