A busy weekend for motorsports produced significant gains in TV audience for all but NASCAR’s Cup Series, which took another hit from Mother Nature.
The Monster Energy Cup Series race at Darlington Raceway Sunday night on NBCSN was delayed for nearly four hours by rain, pushing the finish into the early morning hours, but still averaged a 1.14 rating and 1.9 million viewers, down from a 1.54/2.7m on the same network last year.
NASCAR’s Xfinity Series averaged a 1.06 rating and 1.7m viewers Saturday afternoon on NBC, up from 0.87/1.4m for last year’s race, which also was over the air on NBC. A Dale Jr. Bounce, perhaps, with the comeback of NASCAR’s longtime most popular driver for this race (pictured) having been well-publicized in advance.
In 2018, IndyCar racing led directly into Darlington’s Cup race on NBCSN, but this year NTT IndyCar Series race at Portland International Raceway played OTA Sunday afternoon on NBC and averaged a 0.74/1.1m viewers, a healthy increase from last year’s 0.35/529,000 on the cable network. Perhaps more significantly, this was also a sizable improvement over IndyCar’s last appearance on NBC at Mid-Ohio in July (0.47/670K).
Formula 1’s return from its summer sabbatical with the Belgian Grand Prix on ESPN2 secured a 0.40/660,000 average — a significant improvement on last year’s 0.30/474,000 on the same network.
Numbers for the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series finals at the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis on Labor Day Monday are not yet available.