Prior to the Daytona 500, and then again heading into the California race this past week, several media reporters suggested that NASCAR (and Brian France) had its head in the sand by stating that NASCAR’s off year in 2006 was a glitch.
Well, let’s look at what’s happened so far. Daytona’s TV viewership was down from last year (10.1 rating in ’07 vs. 11.3 rating in ’06) but was still one of the top five ratings in the race’s history.
Again there was no sell-out in the stands for last week’s California race — NASCAR estimated the crowd at 87,000 while California can seat 92,000 plus the suites and 2,000 RV spots (sixth race in a row that was not a sell-out) — but California officials are pleased with the crowd size, especially given the weather on Sunday.
Nielsen reports that TV ratings for California were tied with last year’s ratings (6.2 rating) but lower than 2005.
So where does that leave NASCAR? Too soon to tell but Las Vegas might be a better barometer of NASCAR’s performance.
Here’s a thought to ponder: My colleague Mike suggested that NASCAR consider moving one race each year to a track that no longer has a Nextel race — rotating once every three to four years as needed. Might spark some new interest, especially in those areas that have lost their race(s) to other tracks.