This year's edition of the Daytona 500 posted its strongest TV ratings since 2008, thanks to a buildup of attention drawn by Danica Patrick's history-making pole position and a horrendous crash during a race at the track Saturday. Viewership peaked late in the race, when Patrick dropped from third position to finish eighth behind winner Jimmie Johnson.
The biggest percentage gains in viewership seem to have come in big cities.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish. The biggest weekend in NASCAR left the racing world with plenty to talk about. Jimmie Johnson won his second Daytona 500 and Danica Patrick became the first woman ever to finish in the top 10. But the event that may have the longest lingering effect on car racing happened at the end of a second tier race the day before the headline event.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Jennifer Ludden in Washington. More than a week has passed since Olympic athlete and South African sports hero Oscar Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. He faces charges of premeditated murder. On Friday he was granted bail and left jail.
Fauja Singh has decided, at the age of 101, to put his feet up and rest.
Or, at least, to stop participating in long-distance races.
The Indian-born British citizen known as the "turbaned tornado" was among the competitors Sunday at a 10-kilometer race in Hong Kong. According to Sports Illustrated, he completed the 6.2-mile course in 1 hour, 32 minutes and 28 seconds.
Jimmie Johnson won the Daytona 500 yesterday, only his second career victory. [POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: It was his second win at Daytona.] And he made it past Danica Patrick, the first woman to ever win the pole position with the fastest qualifying time. She finished eighth. NPR's Mike Pesca was at the race.
A big first for Danica Patrick, but an even bigger second for Jimmie Johnson.
Patrick made history out front at the Daytona 500, only to see five-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson reclaim his spot at the top in the end.
Johnson won his second Daytona 500 with a late push on Sunday, grabbing the spotlight from Patrick as she faded on the final lap. Patrick became the first woman in history to lead laps in "The Great American Race" and was running third on the last lap, but slipped to eighth in the late push for position.
The wide world of sports moves fast and if you don't keep up, sometimes you get left behind. That is what happened this past week in Buffalo, New York. Lindy Ruff, the coach of the Sabres - that is Buffalo's hockey team - he was fired during his 17th season leading the team.
And that got NPR's Mike Pesca thinking. He joins us now.
In Florida and Arizona, it is a rite of spring for Major League Baseball teams and their fans. Spring training kicked off this weekend. Now, each club has its loyal followers, but arguably among the most diehard root for the team from the North Side of Chicago. The Chicago Cubs continually sell out games, even though the team hasn't won a World Series since 1908. Nick Blumberg from member station KJZZ in Phoenix talked to some fans at the team's first spring training game of the year.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Don Gonyea. Time now for sports.
It is officially springtime in the world of sports. Baseball is back. And the NFL Combine has commenced, plus the justice department makes a big move in the case against disgraced cycling star Lance Armstrong. NPR Sports correspondent, Tom Goldman, joins me now. Good morning, Tom.
There is some legal news in American sports as well today. The Justice Department announced it will join a whistleblower lawsuit against Lance Armstrong. The suit was filed by one of Armstrong's former teammates on the U.S. Postal Service cycling team. And for more, I'm joined by NPR's Mike Pesca. Hey, Mike.