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IndyCar Series St. Pete race produces highest-rated broadcast in more than 3 years UPDATE #2 The final TV Rating for last Sunday's St. Pete IndyCar race was a 1.2 on ABC.  Not as good as the 1.4 overnight rating, but still better than in recent years.

03/29/11 The Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on Ch. 28 Sunday drew a healthy 1.4 overnight television rating, the highest rating for an IndyCar race other than the Indianapolis 500 since July 2007. The 1.4 rating equates to about 1 million households. That's not a great number compared to, say, the NCAA Tournament, which usually has nearly 9 million viewers, or even NASCAR, which drew a 4.1 rating (about 3.2 million households) for Sunday's race in California. But the 1.4 is well above the 0.8 rating that ABC's IndyCar races drew last year.

03/28/11 ABC's broadcast of the IZOD IndyCar Series season-opening Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 27 delivered its highest overnight rating in metered markets for a race since 2007.

The 1.4 rating for 56 markets was surpassed only by ABC's telecast of the July 2007 race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Final ratings for this broadcast are expected on March 31.

"I'm very encouraged by the ratings for several reasons," said Randy Bernard, CEO of INDYCAR, the sanctioning body of the IZOD IndyCar Series. "First of all, it was standalone. It wasn't in the late time slot, during which there typically is more household viewership. Second, it's our highest-rated non-Indianapolis show since 2007, but even that show had a great lead-in with the British Open (with Padraig Harrington defeating Sergio Garcia in a four-hole playoff).

"We're ecstatic with our ratings and with the double digit percentage of growth with the live attendance at the event, and we believe INDYCAR is going to continue to make substantial progress in the next couple of years."

ABC's 2-hour, 30-minute telecast of the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on the scenic 1.8-mile, 14-turn street circuit featured the dramatic debut of side-by-side restarts, a young female driver dueling with the 2004 champion for third place, bumping and passing, and contenders eliminated in the first turn of the initial green flag lap.

The 100-lap race was won by reigning series champion Dario Franchitti of Target Chip Ganassi Racing, who started next to pole sitter and 2010 chief championship protagonist Will Power.

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