NASCAR FOX TV ratings still way below 3 years ago

Viewership for the first 13 Sprint Cup races on Fox rose nine percent over 2010, the largest year-to-year increase since Fox began televising Cup races in 2001, but still over 20% below NASCAR's best years three years ago.

Fox finished its Sprint Cup telecast schedule with an average rating of 5.0 and 8.6 million viewers per race, according to the network. Ratings increased 4 percent from a 4.8 last year.

According to the network, average ratings among men ages 18-34 increased 20 percent, from 1.5 to 1.8. The network also had increases in households (up 4 percent), men ages 18-49 (up 6 percent), men 25-54 (up 5 percent) and adults 18-49 (up 4 percent).

The overall ratings increase is good news after Fox had its worst season in 2010 with a 4.8 rating, which was hampered by a pothole that delayed the completion of the Daytona 500 and by races at Texas and Martinsville that were rained out and televised on Monday. The 2011 season was on par with 2009, when Fox posted a 5.1 rating in 12 races.

The next six races will be televised on TNT with the final 17 Cup events on ESPN/ABC

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