List of Daytona 500 broadcasters

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Green flag at the 2015 Daytona 500, aired live on Fox.

The following is a list of the American television networks and announcers who have broadcast NASCAR's annual Daytona 500 throughout the years. Throughout its history, the Daytona 500 has been aired on all four major networks in the U.S., including ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox. In 1979, CBS covered the race live flag-to-flag for the first time. The unprecedented broadcast was considered risky by network executives, but was a rousing success when a snowstorm blanketed much of the east coast, prompting a huge viewing audience. A exciting and shocking finish capped off a telecast that was considered a ground-breaking moment in the history of NASCAR, and one of the defining moments that helped elevate the sport into the mainstream.

Currently, Fox holds exclusive rights to carry the Daytona 500 in the United States, under the terms of a contract extensions that run through the 2024 NASCAR season.[1][2] As part of the right package, Fox also holds the exclusive rights to support events held during Daytona 500 Speedweeks, including the Sprint Unlimited, Daytona 500 pole qualifying, the Budweiser Duel, the Truck Series race, the Xfinity Series race, and various practice sessions. Some of the ancillary events are aired on Fox companion channels FS1 and FS2.

Early CBS and ABC's Wide World of Sports era (1959-1978)[edit]

The first known telecast of a NASCAR race was the 1960 Daytona 500, parts of which was presented as part of CBS Sports Spectacular, with announcer Bud Palmer.[3]

From 1962 to 1978, the Daytona 500 was shown on ABC's Wide World of Sports.[4] During the 1960s and early 1970s, the race was filmed and an edited highlight package aired the following weekend. In 1974, ABC began the first semi-live coverage (joined-in-progress) of the Daytona 500. Coverage was normally timed to begin when the race was halfway over. Brief taped highlights of the start and early segments were shown, then ABC joined the race live already in progress, picking up approximately the last 90 minutes of the race. This format continued through 1978.

The 1976 race 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 of the race, then switched to the Olympics for 90 minutes 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.

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.

Year Network Lap-by-lap Color commentator(s) Pit reporters Host Ratings[5] Viewers[5]
1959 none  —  —  —  —  —  —
1960 CBS Sports Spectacular Bud Palmer Bud Palmer Bud Palmer
1961 none  —  —  —  —  —  —
1962 ABC's WWOS Jim McKay Stirling Moss Chris Economaki Jim McKay
1963 ABC's WWOS Bill Flemming Chris Economaki Chris Economaki Bill Flemming
1964 ABC's WWOS Bill Flemming Chris Economaki
Stirling Moss
Chris Economaki
Stirling Moss
Bill Flemming
1965 ABC's WWOS Bill Flemming Dan Gurney Bill Flemming Bill Flemming
1966 ABC's WWOS Curt Gowdy Rodger Ward Chris Economaki Curt Gowdy
1967 ABC's WWOS Jim McKay Chris Economaki Chris Economaki Jim McKay
1968 ABC's WWOS Bill Flemming Chris Economaki Bill Flemming Bill Flemming
1969 ABC's WWOS Bill Flemming Chris Economaki Bill Flemming Bill Flemming
1970 ABC's WWOS Keith Jackson Chris Economaki Chris Economaki Keith Jackson
1971 ABC's WWOS Keith Jackson Chris Economaki Chris Economaki Keith Jackson
1972 ABC's WWOS Keith Jackson Chris Economaki Chris Economaki Keith Jackson
1973 ABC's WWOS Jim McKay Jackie Stewart Chris Economaki Jim McKay
1974 ABC's WWOS Keith Jackson Jackie Stewart Chris Economaki Keith Jackson 10.9/29 12.5 million
1975 ABC's WWOS Bill Flemming Jackie Stewart Bill Flemming Bill Flemming 11.8/31 15.1 million
1976 ABC's WWOS Bill Flemming Jackie Stewart Chris Economaki Bill Flemming 12.8/37 18.3 million
1977 ABC's WWOS Jim McKay Jackie Stewart Chris Economaki Jim McKay 12.9/35 16.0 million
1978 ABC's WWOS Jim McKay Jackie Stewart Chris Economaki Jim McKay 11.8/33 20.9 million

CBS era (1979-2000)[edit]

In 1979, CBS instituted the live "flag-to-flag" coverage policy.[6][7] The ground-breaking 1979 broadcast ushered in the 22-year run of NASCAR on CBS. The 1987 broadcast won the Sports Emmy for "Outstanding Live Sports Special." Ken Squier served as play-by-play announcer from 1979 to 1997. From 1998-2000, former pit reporter Mike Joy was elevated to play-by-play, while Squier moved to the host position.

The 1995 race includes a two-hour rain delay that occurred near the mid-point. Some markets in the U.S. did not have the race, as CBS lost major market affiliates during the 1994-95 season.

During its entire run from 1979-2000, CBS also carried the Busch Clash (live), and in most years, carried the Twin 125s (tape-delayed). In the mid-1990s, CBS also picked up coverage of the Goody's 300, while pole qualifying for the Daytona 500 was aired on ESPN during much of the 1990s.

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.[8]

Year Network Lap-by-lap Color commentator(s) Pit reporters Host Ratings[5] Viewers[5]
1979[9] CBS Ken Squier David Hobbs Ned Jarrett
Brock Yates
Ken Squier 10.5/29 15.1 million
1980 CBS Ken Squier David Hobbs Ned Jarrett
Brock Yates
Ken Squier 8.0/21 10.8 million
1981 CBS Ken Squier David Hobbs Ned Jarrett
Brock Yates
Ken Squier 8.4/26 11.2 million
1982 CBS Ken Squier David Hobbs Ned Jarrett
Larry Nuber
Brock Yates 9.4/27 11.8 million
1983 CBS Ken Squier David Hobbs Ned Jarrett
Larry Nuber
Ken Squier 8.7/26 11.0 million
1984 CBS Ken Squier David Hobbs Ned Jarrett
Chris Economaki
Mike Joy
Chris Economaki 8.7/23 12.3 million
1985 CBS Ken Squier David Hobbs
Ned Jarrett
Chris Economaki
Mike Joy
Chris Economaki 8.3/23 9.8 million
1986 CBS Ken Squier David Hobbs
Ned Jarrett
Chris Economaki
Mike Joy
Chris Economaki 8.4/22 10.3 million
1987 CBS Ken Squier David Hobbs
Ned Jarrett
Chris Economaki
Mike Joy
Dave Despain
Chris Economaki 9.4/26 12.4 million
1988 CBS Ken Squier Ned Jarrett
Chris Economaki
Mike Joy
Dave Despain
David Hobbs
Chris Economaki 7.4/18 10.0 million
1989 CBS Ken Squier Ned Jarrett
Chris Economaki
Mike Joy
Dave Despain
David Hobbs
Chris Economaki 8.1/21 12.0 million
1990 CBS Ken Squier Ned Jarrett
Chris Economaki
Mike Joy
Dave Despain
David Hobbs
Chris Economaki 7.3/20 10.5 million
1991 CBS Ken Squier Ned Jarrett
David Hobbs
Mike Joy
Dave Despain
Chris Economaki
Chris Economaki 7.6/20 10.9 million
1992 CBS Ken Squier Ned Jarrett
Neil Bonnett
Mike Joy
David Hobbs
Chris Economaki
Chris Economaki 9.2/25 13.4 million
1993 CBS Ken Squier Ned Jarrett
Neil Bonnett
Mike Joy
David Hobbs
Chris Economaki
Chris Economaki 8.4/23 12.7 million
1994 CBS Ken Squier Ned Jarrett
Chris Economaki
Mike Joy
David Hobbs
Dick Berggren
Chris Economaki 9.6/26 13.6 million
1995 CBS Ken Squier Ned Jarrett
Richard Petty
Mike Joy
David Hobbs
Dick Berggren
Ken Squier 7.8/20 11.4 million
1996 CBS Ken Squier Ned Jarrett
Buddy Baker
Mike Joy
David Hobbs
Dick Berggren
Ken Squier 9.2/24 13.9 million
1997 CBS Ken Squier Ned Jarrett
Buddy Baker
Mike Joy
Dick Berggren
Ralph Sheheen
Ken Squier 8.6/23 12.8 million
1998 CBS Mike Joy Ned Jarrett
Buddy Baker
Dick Berggren
Ralph Sheheen
Bill Stephens
Ken Squier 8.6/23 13.0 million
1999 CBS Mike Joy Ned Jarrett
Buddy Baker
Dick Berggren
Ralph Sheheen
Bill Stephens
Greg Gumbel
Ken Squier
9.6/25 12.9 million
2000 CBS Mike Joy Ned Jarrett
Buddy Baker
Dick Berggren
Ralph Sheheen
Bill Stephens
Ken Squier 8.4/22 12.9 million

Fox/NBC era (2001-2006)[edit]

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. Fox carried the Daytona 500 in odd-numbered years (2001, 2003, 2005) and NBC carried the Daytona 500 in even-numbered years (2002, 2004, 2006). The Pepsi 400, followed the opposite pattern, going to the network not airing the Daytona 500 in the respective season.

Rights to other support events held during Speedweeks followed the same general pattern, alternating between Fox/FX and NBC/TNT. Ancillary events included the Budweiser Shootout, Daytona 500 pole qualifying, and the Gatorade 125s.

In 2001, after CBS lost the rights to the Daytona 500, Ken Squier left the network and joined Fox for a one-race arrangement as special contributor and studio host.

Year Network Lap-by-lap Color commentators Pit reporters Pre-Race Host Pre-Race Analyst(s) Ratings Viewers
2001 Fox Mike Joy Darrell Waltrip
Larry McReynolds
Dick Berggren
Steve Byrnes
Matt Yocum
Jeanne Zelasko
Chris Myers Jeff Hammond
Darrell Waltrip
Ken Squier
10.0/24 17.1 million
2002 NBC Allen Bestwick Benny Parsons
Wally Dallenbach
Bill Weber
Dave Burns
Marty Snider
Matt Yocum
Bill Weber 10.9/26 18.8 million
2003 Fox Mike Joy Darrell Waltrip
Larry McReynolds
Dick Berggren
Steve Byrnes
Matt Yocum
Jeanne Zelasko
Chris Myers Jeff Hammond
Darrell Waltrip
9.8/21 16.8 million
2004 NBC Allen Bestwick Benny Parsons
Wally Dallenbach
Bill Weber
Dave Burns
Marty Snider
Matt Yocum
Bill Weber 10.6/24 17.8 million
2005 Fox Mike Joy Darrell Waltrip
Larry McReynolds
Dick Berggren
Steve Byrnes
Matt Yocum
Jeanne Zelasko
Chris Myers Jeff Hammond
Darrell Waltrip
10.9/23 18.7 million
2006 NBC Bill Weber Benny Parsons
Wally Dallenbach
Allen Bestwick
Dave Burns
Marty Snider
Matt Yocum
Bill Weber 11.3/23 19.4 million

Exclusive Fox era (2007-present)[edit]

Starting in 2007, Fox became the exclusive home of the Daytona 500 under the terms of NASCAR's new television package. Contract extensions signed in 2011 and 2012 extended the exclusive rights on Fox through the 2024 season.

Year Network Lap-by-lap Color commentators Pit reporters Pre-Race Host Pre-Race Analyst(s) Ratings[5] Viewers[5]
2007 Fox Mike Joy Darrell Waltrip
Larry McReynolds
Dick Berggren
Steve Byrnes
Matt Yocum
Krista Voda
Chris Myers Jeff Hammond
Darrell Waltrip
10.1/20 17.5 million
2008 Fox Mike Joy Darrell Waltrip
Larry McReynolds
Dick Berggren
Steve Byrnes
Matt Yocum
Krista Voda
Chris Myers Jeff Hammond
Darrell Waltrip
10.2/20 17.8 million
2009 Fox Mike Joy Darrell Waltrip
Larry McReynolds
Dick Berggren
Steve Byrnes
Matt Yocum
Krista Voda
Chris Myers Jeff Hammond
Darrell Waltrip
9.2/19 16.0 million
2010 Fox Mike Joy Darrell Waltrip
Larry McReynolds
Dick Berggren
Steve Byrnes
Matt Yocum
Krista Voda
Chris Myers Jeff Hammond
Darrell Waltrip
7.7/16 13.3 million
2011 Fox Mike Joy Darrell Waltrip
Larry McReynolds
Dick Berggren
Steve Byrnes
Matt Yocum
Krista Voda
Chris Myers Jeff Hammond
Darrell Waltrip
8.7/20 15.6 million
2012 Fox Mike Joy Darrell Waltrip
Larry McReynolds
Dick Berggren
Steve Byrnes
Matt Yocum
Krista Voda
Jeff Hammond
John Roberts Michael Waltrip
Darrell Waltrip
8.0/14 13.7 million
2013 Fox Mike Joy Darrell Waltrip
Larry McReynolds
Steve Byrnes
Matt Yocum
Krista Voda
Jeff Hammond
Erin Andrews
Chris Myers Michael Waltrip
Darrell Waltrip
9.9/22 16.7 million
2014 Fox Mike Joy Darrell Waltrip
Larry McReynolds
Steve Byrnes
Matt Yocum
Krista Voda
Chris Myers Michael Waltrip
Darrell Waltrip
Jeff Hammond
5.6/10 9.3 million
2015 Fox Mike Joy Darrell Waltrip
Larry McReynolds
Matt Yocum
Jamie Little
Chris Neville
Vince Welch
Chris Myers Michael Waltrip
Darrell Waltrip
Andy Petree
7.7 13.4 million

Notes[edit]

  • 2007: Race finished in prime-time hour (7 PM EST).
    • Per the current broadcast agreements, the Daytona 500 will be televised by Fox through 2022.
  • 2010: Two delays totaling 150 minutes caused by track break up. Finished in prime-time.
  • 2012: John Roberts replaced Chris Myers, who was placed on bereavement leave after his son's death during Speedweeks. Race delayed 30 hours by rain, then delayed a second time after a Lap 160 red flag caused by track issues following a jet fuel fire as a result of a crash. Race finished in late night hour (1 AM EST Tuesday / 10 PM PST Monday), after Fox typically signs off.
  • 2014: Race finished in late-night hour (11 PM EST) and in prime-time (8 PM PST because of rain delays totaling 6 hours, 22 minutes.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "NASCAR rides hot rights market to increase with Fox". Sports Business Journal. Retrieved October 17, 2012. 
  2. ^ "NASCAR, Fox EXTEND, EXPAND RIGHTS AGREEMENT". NASCAR. 1 August 2013. Retrieved 1 August 2013. 
  3. ^ Ultimate NASCAR, ESPN Books, 2007, p. 42-43
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Daytona 500 numbers game.". Sports Media Watch. 2009-02-17. Retrieved 2009-07-09. 
  6. ^ Mark Aumann (January 23, 2003). "1979: Petty winds up in 'fist' place". Turner Sports Interactive. Retrieved 2007-06-09. 
  7. ^ "1979 Daytona 500". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2007-06-09. 
  8. ^ "World’s most watched TV sports events: 2006 Rank & Trends report". Initiative. 2007-01-19. Archived from the original on 2007-02-08. Retrieved 2007-01-30. 
  9. ^ February 18, 1979 CBS Sports' broadcasts the first live flag-to-flag NASCAR race during the Daytona 500. Richard Petty takes the checkered flag. Viewers are introduced to pictures from Race-Vision, the stationary camera mounted inside a car.

Sources[edit]