After a couple of years of drawn-out rain delays, NASCAR finally got the chance to run its signature event in bright sunny weather and over the scheduled running time. Along with a much better experience for the sold-out crowd on hand, it produced a strong year-on-year gain in television audience.
Sunday’s telecast of the Daytona 500 on Fox averaged a 4.70 Nielsen rating and 8.868 million viewers. That’s comfortably ahead of the last two weather-interrupted races (2021’s averaged 2.80/4.8m), although down from the last “Great American Race” that ran as scheduled in 2019 (5.31/9.17m).
The Daytona Duels races on Thursday night averaged 0.89/1.457 on FS1, near identical to last year’s 0.89/1.5m on the same network.
Daytona also was the setting for the launches of NASCAR’s other national touring series. The Xfinity Series race from Daytona on Saturday averaged 0.87 and 1.484m viewers Saturday afternoon on FS1. That is down slightly from last year’s 0.91/1.6m. Friday’s Camping World Truck Series opener on FS1 averaged 0.63/1.016m, basically unchanged from last year’s 0.63/1.1m. The ARCA Menards Series opener on Saturday afternoon before the Xfinity race on FS1 averaged 0.47/758,000, compared to a 0.58/892K.
A replay of the Monster Energy Supercross at Minneapolis Sunday on NBC averaged 0.38/557,000 viewers. NBC followed that with Drone Racing League action, which averaged 0.33 and 526,000 viewers.
NHRA Camping World Drag Racing also debuted for 2022, with Sunday night’s delayed coverage of the finals from Pomona on FS1 averaging 0.14 and 235,000 viewers.