Final Ratings: Sprint Cup and Nationwide Races Up Truck Series Down The opening week for NASCAR races was a mixed bag on the TV front. The Daytona 500 on Fox saw its best audience since ’08. Earlier in the week, Speed earned a 1.3 rating and 2.0 million viewers for the Budweiser Duels, up from last year.
Meanwhile, ESPN earned a 2.2 U.S. rating and 3.4 million viewers for the NASCAR Nationwide Series season opener last Saturday, which featured a multicar crash at the conclusion of the race that resulted in several fans being injured. Those figures were down from last year’s audience, which marked the most-viewed NNS race ever on cable TV. Danica Patrick was on the pole for last year's race.
Despite the drop, the audience this year marked the third-best viewership for the race at Daytona since ESPN re-acquired NASCAR rights prior to the ’07 season. The crash led to an increase for Speed as well, as the net’s “Speed Center” news program cut in for coverage from Daytona. The cut-in averaged 1.1 million viewers, marking the show’s best audience yet. Speed also earned a 0.9 rating and 1.4 million viewers for the season-opening Camping World Truck Series race last Friday, down from last year. Austin Karp, Sports Business Journal
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