The Daytona 500 finished early due to rain. Though #17 Matt Kenseth walked away as the official race winner, I think the real winner was Ask.com. If NASCAR fans hadn’t heard of them before, they certainly have now.  Ask.com Wins the Daytona 500

Just last month, Ask.com finalized a deal with NASCAR to sponsor #96 Bobby Labonte and make Ask.com the “Official Search Engine of NASCAR” for this season. That is an interesting approach that just may help Ask.com reach a new and significant audience, with an estimated 75 million NASCAR racing fans. This could provide a badly needed boost for Ask.com’s struggling search engine.

Ask.com currently ranks a distant 4th in Search Engine Market Share, receiving 2.4% of all searches in December, 2008. This equates to 265 million monthly search queries, a decrease of 10% from the year prior (in the same time period, Google grew by 49%, now receiving 7.9 billion monthly search queries). It appears that Ask.com needs to do something. So, maybe NASCAR is the answer, especially since there was no sight of Google, Yahoo or Microsoft anywhere at the event.

Ask.com currently offers PPC advertising via its “ASL network”, consisting of 90+ syndication partners, across a multitude of search properties, portals and meta search sites that include (but is not limited to) Excite.com, iWon.com, CNET.com, Mamma.com and Lycos.com. When I last tried it, I was not particularly impressed with results, but admittedly, that was some time ago.

As far as the Daytona finish, don’t Ask! It was quite disappointing, finishing with an incredibly lack luster rain delay. It will be tough for Daytona to ever come up with a finish like 2 years back, where a last lap crash led to an insane finish with one driver, Clint Boyer, actually crossing the finish line upside down (view video).

However, that is not to say the race did not have its moments. Fan favorite, Dale Earnhardt Jr. caused an accident that took out 9 of the leaders (some say intentionally). Too bad for Ask.com that they can’t just as easily eliminate their competitors; they only need to take out 3.

JumpFly previously had the pleasure of working with NASCAR via relationships with McGlynn Racing in the Cup Series (view pictures) and Key Motorsports in the Truck Series in past seasons. Maybe one year JumpFly will win the Daytona 500. On that note, the driver for McGlynn Racing when JumpFly sponsored them was Derrike Cope, who actually did win the Daytona 500 in 1990.

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