During the period on Wide World of Sports, the booth announcers typically served as roving pit reporters during the running of the race, as well as interviewing in victory lane. The booth commentary was recorded in post-production.
In 1974, ABC began the first live coverage (joined-in-progress) of the Daytona 500. Coverage was normally timed to begin when the race was halfway over. ABC aired approximately, the last 90 minutes of the race from 1974-1978.
The 1976 Daytona 500 was held on the same day of the final day of competition in the Winter Olympics (also broadcast on ABC). ABC carried 30 minutes of live coverage of the start, then switched to the Olympics for an hour-and-a-half to carry taped coverage of the final two competitive events (a cross-country ski race and the final runs in the bobsled), held earlier that day. Then it was back to Daytona for about an hour-and-a-half for the finish.
Since 1995, U.S. television ratings for the Daytona 500 have been the highest for any auto race of the year, surpassing the traditional leader, the Indianapolis 500. The 2006 Daytona 500 attracted the sixth largest average live global TV audience of any sporting event that year with 20 million viewers.
From 2001 to 2006, the Daytona 500 broadcasting network alternated between Fox and NBC under the terms of a six-year, $2.48 billion NASCAR television contract, with Fox broadcasting the Daytona 500 in odd-numbered years (2001, 2003, 2005) and NBC broadcasting the Daytona 500 in even-numbered years (2002, 2004, 2006), with the other network that year broadcasting the Pepsi 400. Starting in 2007, Fox became the exclusive home of the Daytona 500 under the terms of NASCAR's new television package.