It certainly looks like they have. With the pageantry normally reserved for the NFL, NBC kicked off the NASCAR season today with wire-to-wire coverage of the Daytona 500. The show knocked NBC's coverage of the Olympics off the air until after its conclusion, including some "overtime" laps. Live television coverage began more than an hour before the drop of the green flag and included a 3-song Bon Jovi concert. Joining with Bon Jovi was Jennifer Nettles of the group SugarLand in a hat tip to NASCAR's southern country roots. They performed their duet Can't Go Home. Performing the National Anthem was another current pop music singer, Fergie from the Black Eyes Peas. The pre-
gamerace was concluded with a military jet flyover (F-22A Raptors, if you care).
The announced crowd was 178,000 in the seats and over 200,000 when those with infield passes were included. That's roughly 3 times the attendance at an average NFL game. Clearly, when it comes to professional sports the NFL reigns supreme. It looks like NASCAR has truly made itself a major force in American culture.