Sunday afternoon's race earned a 9.9 rating and 22 share on Fox, the network said Tuesday. That's up 24 percent from 2012, when rain pushed the event to a Monday night. It was the highest rating since 2008.
Jimmie Johnson won the race while Patrick was eighth, the best finish by a woman at the Daytona 500.
The race had plenty of buildup: Patrick making history as the first woman to start a Sprint Cup race from the pole, the revamped cars, no more tandem drafting and a frightening crash the day before in the second-tier Nationwide Series.
The increases in viewership were particularly notable in some of the country's biggest cities. Ratings were up 91 percent in Chicago, 64 percent in San Francisco, 60 percent in Los Angeles, 59 percent in Boston and 43 percent in New York.
The average rating for women between the ages of 18 and 34 grew by 16 percent.
Ratings represent the percentage of all homes with televisions tuned to a program. Shares represent the percentage of all homes with TVs in use at the time.