NASCAR is all abuzz with what's new, from yet another revised points system — meant to give the final race of the season more of a "playoffs" feel — to the return to competition of Dale Earnhardt's No. 3 car (driven by Rookie of the Year candidate Austin Dillon). But even as the Daytona 500 kicks off a fresh season on Sunday, teams still have to contend with the same old leader — the sport's formidable six-time and defending champion: "The road to the Sprint Cup championship any year goes through Jimmie Johnson," says Fox NASCAR commentator Mike Joy. "That's who you have to beat."
Fox's rain-delayed coverage of the Daytona 500 drove down numbers for most shows Monday night, but NBC still has a lot to sing about.
Despite drops in both viewership and the adults 18-to-49 demo, The Voice (14.8 million viewers, 5.4) was the top show of the night, while Smash ended its two-week skid by rising to 6.9 million and a 2.4 (up 6 and 4 percent).
2 pm/ET FOX
Gentlemen, start your season. The struggling economy forced a few race teams to trim cars or merge, but the starting field is still 43-drivers strong for the 51st Great American Race in Daytona Beach. After Florida governor Charlie Crist gives the starting command, look for usual suspects like Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon and three-time series champ Jimmie Johnson near the front. Sentimental fans may prefer to follow veterans Mark Martin (now in the No. 5 car) and Tony Stewart (now in No. 14) as they debut new rides while chasing their long-sought first trip to NASCAR's ultimate Victory Lane.
Read on for previews of Amazing Race 14, Desperate Housewives, Eastbound & Down and Masterpiece Classic.