NASCAR Feb 25, 2024; Hampton, Georgia, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Daniel Suarez (99) (near wall) beats NASCAR Cup Series driver Ryan Blaney (12) to the line to win the Ambetter Health 400 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports

NASCAR often flies under the radar of major sports news, leaving fans yearning for its thrilling moments to gain wider recognition. This past weekend, the sport delivered a heart-stopping photo finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway, with Daniel Suárez edging out Ryan Blaney and Kyle Busch by mere inches.

According to Adam Stern of the Sports Business Journal, this race became NASCAR’s most viral social media moment since Ross Chastain’s incredible “Hail Melon” maneuver in 2022, where he used the wall to slingshot from 10th to 5th and secure a spot in the championship race. Interestingly, Sunday’s race also involved a driver from Trackhouse Racing, as noted by the sanctioning body’s data.

Despite fans’ desire for broader recognition, Suárez’s photo finish received placement on SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays, albeit at the number 10 spot. This ranking disappointed some fans, particularly considering the perceived lack of significant sporting events over the weekend. They pointed to a college softball throw to first base being ranked higher at number 9, expressing dissatisfaction with the perceived disparity.

While some point out that ESPN doesn’t hold NASCAR broadcasting rights, making the inclusion on their Top 10 list noteworthy, fans may still need to be satisfied. This lack of extensive coverage on ESPN compared to the past, when they held the rights, is undeniable. Currently, FOX Sports and NBC Sports carry most NASCAR Cup Series races. Additionally, a recently agreed-upon historic deal will see the series welcome new partners, Prime Video and TNT Sports, who will share broadcasts for a selection of midseason races starting in 2025.

Although NASCAR’s future holds promise for broader coverage through new partnerships, securing dedicated space on ESPN might be a challenge. However, the network’s commitment to Formula 1 shows the potential for other platforms to offer similar in-depth coverage for NASCAR in the coming years.

[Adam Stern on Twitter/X]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.