The third straight blockbuster weekend for motor racing on TV continued to suggest numbers are returning to their pre-pandemic norms.
NASCAR’s Cup Series wound up second overall (to PGA golf) among live sports events for the week, averaging a 1.71 household rating and 2.7 million viewers for its Texas race Sunday afternoon on NBCSN. That’s all but identical to the 1.72/2.8m that watched Cup at New Hampshire on this date last season on the same network.
Cup’s All-Star Race at Bristol on Wednesday night (pictured above) averaged 1.27/2.1m on FS1. That’s down from 1.40/2.4m for last year’s race from Charlotte on a Saturday night in May, also on FS1.
Saturday afternoon’s NASCAR Xfinity Series round from Texas averaged 0.63/973,000 on NBCSN. That’s down fractionally from last year’s New Hampshire Xfinity race on the same date and time (0.68/1.0m), also on NBCSN.
While weather didn’t cooperate with the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series for its second weekend of finals at Indianapolis on FOX, the viewers that did stick around before the rainout was called on Sunday afternoon made up the best non-NASCAR TV audience of the week — 0.59/906,000. It’s also more than last year’s finals coverage from Denver got on FOX on this date in 2019 (0.47/676,000)
Formula 1’s third race and second racetrack, the Hungarian Grand Prix, averaged 0.42/703,000 on ESPN. That’s halfway between the audience for the two races from Austria, but a healthy increase on last August’s Hungarian race (0.34/520,000), which aired on ESPN2.
NASCAR’s Texas Cup race was on NBCSN because NBC was rolling out the red carpet for its first MotoGP race from Spain Sunday afternoon, which delivered a 0.36/527,000 viewers.
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship was back in action at Sebring Saturday night on NBCSN, and just edged IndyCar’s best audience for the weekend on the same network. Its telecast averaged 0.23/357,000.
The second NTT IndyCar Series at Iowa, which directly followed the IMSA race, averaged 0.23/356,000, while the preceding night’s first race of the doubleheader did 0.21/334,000. Both were actually an improvement on last year’s rain-delayed single race at Iowa, which averaged 156,000 viewers on NBCSN, after earlier coverage of the rain delay had netted 259,000. For a more direct comparison, 2018’s Iowa race — run on a Sunday afternoon — had a 0.31/452,000 on NBCSN.
NASCAR’s Truck Series race at Texas on Saturday night beat both the sports cars and open-wheelers, averaging 0.29/446,000 on FS1. That was still a big drop from the previous Saturday’s afternoon race at Kentucky, though (0.42/699,000).