It was another weekend of firsts for motor racing on TV, with NASCAR’s inaugural races on Daytona’s road course and IndyCar staging its Time Trials for the Indianapolis 500 three months later than normal.
The NASCAR Cup Series round at Daytona averaged a 2.04 national Nielsen rating and 3.2 million household viewers on NBC Sunday afternoon. That’s a big step up from the 1.50/2.5m that watched the summer Bristol race on this date last year on NBCSN, although down slightly from the 2.67/4.3m for the most recent NBC Cup race, the Brickyard 400 back in July.
NASCAR’s Xfinity Series also fared well on the Roval, averaging 0.63/1.0m on NBCSN on NBCSN Saturday afternoon, up from 0.56/909,000 for last year’s Xfinity race at Bristol.
Completing sweep of improvements, the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series also posted a solid year-on-year gain with a 0.36/575,000 Sunday morning on FS1, compared to a 0.29/441K last year at Bristol, although that was run on a Thursday night.
NBC aired a pair of qualifying shows for the Indianapolis 500 on NBC Saturday and Sunday. They were down from last May’s best Time Trials audience but only just. Sunday’s Fast Nine pole shootout averaged 0.63/933,000, down from 0.66/997,000 for 2019’s rain-impacted Sunday show. Saturday qualifying on NBC averaged 0.54/824K.
Formula 1’s Spanish Grand Prix on ESPN averaged 0.38/618,000, its second straight drop, from 0.41/635K for the second race at Silverstone the week before. Last year’s Spanish GP, which ran in May, averaged 0.40/645,000 on ESPN2.
NBC’s expansion of motorsports content on its broadcast network continued with coverage of AMA Motocross on Sunday. It averaged 0.37/517,000 viewers.