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Gearing Up: NASCAR Nextel Cup Heads Into Chase

ABC began its coverage of the NASCAR Nextel Cup on Saturday night, averaging 6,750,852 viewers for the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 from Richmond, up 27.7% from 5,288,162 viewers for the race from last year, when it aired on TNT.   ABC's 4.2 rating for the four-hour telecast won the key adult demographics: 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54.   ESPN VP/Motorsports Rich Feinberg: "We don't just measure the success of that relationship on ratings. We're a company with multiple platforms and multiple business unites that are involved with the NASCAR project, and I think across the board on a whole lot of different levels the company is very satisfied with where we are season to date" (THE DAILY).

CUTTING TO THE CHASE: With the Chase for the Nextel Cup beginning Sunday, the chart below presents the ratings for all the Nextel Cup races so far this year.  NOTE: In some cases, broadcast ratings are compared to cable ratings; viewer numbers are also included.  Last year, TNT aired the first two races of the Chase for the Nextel Cup, which averaged a 3.7 coverage area rating (3.1 U.S area) and 4.8 million viewers. NBC aired the final eight Chase races, averaging a 4.5 Nielsen rating and 7.2 million viewers. For the entire Chase, TNT and NBC averaged a 4.2 rating and 6.7 million viewers. ABC will air all Chase races this season.  ESPN analyst Rusty Wallace said of whether Dale Earnhardt Jr. not qualifying for the Chase will affect viewership: "I think the viewership's not going to change a whole lot. He's going to be out there racing every single week, he's still going to be in the races and he's still a big story. You're not going to turn the TV off just because he's not in the Chase" (THE DAILY).

2007 NASCAR NEXTEL CUP RATINGS
DATE
NET
DAY
START
RACE
TRACK
RAT.
VWRS (000)
RAT.
VWRS (000)
2/10
Fox
Sat.
8:30pm
Budweiser
Shootout (a)
Daytona
4.8
8,441
4.6
6,150
2/18
Fox
Sun.
3:30pm
Daytona 500 (b)
Daytona
10.1
17,532
11.3
19,355
2/25
Fox
Sun.
3:45pm
Auto Club 500
California
6.7
11,707
7.4
12,523
3/11
Fox
Sun.
4:45pm
UAW-
DaimlerChrysler 400
Las Vegas
6.3
10,532
6.2
10,322
3/18
Fox
Sun.
2:30pm
Kobalt Tools
500 (c)
Atlanta
5.2
8,455
1.5
1,585
3/25
Fox
Sun.
2:30pm
Food City 500 Bristol
5.1
10,983
6.2
9,902
4/1
Fox
Sun.
2:15pm
Goody's Cool
Orange 500 (d)
Martinsville
5.3
9,152
6.2
9,766
4/15
Fox
Sun.
2:20pm
Samsung 500 Texas
5.6
9,284
5.4
8,674
4/21
Fox
Sat.
8:45pm
Subway Fresh
Fit 500
Phoenix
4.4
7,018
4.8
7,496
4/29
Fox
Sun.
2:25pm
Aaron's 499 (e) Talladega
5.4
8,563
2.5
3,455
5/6
Fox
Sun.
1:15pm
Jim Stewart 400 (f)(g) Richmond
4.3
7,004
4.3
5,633
5/13
Fox
Sun.
1:20pm
Dodge Avenger
500 (h)
Darlington
4.2
6,920
4.8
7,861
5/19
Speed
Sat.
7:00pm
Nextel All-Star Challenge (i)(g) Lowe's
3.6
3,788
3.3
4,469
5/27
Fox
Sun.
5:45pm
Coca-Cola 600 Lowe's
4.5
7,496
5.1
8,365
6/4
Fox
Mon.
12:00pm
Autism Speaks
400 (j)(g)
Dover
2.3
3,375
4.6
5,969
6/10
TNT
Sun.
2:00pm
Pocono 500 (k)(l) Pocono
3.6
4,968
5.2
8,178
6/17
TNT
Sun.
2:00pm
Citizens Bank
400 (l)(m)
Michigan
3.9
5,225
4.5
7,106
6/24
TNT
Sun.
5:00pm
Toyota/SaveMart
350 (l)(n)
Infineon
4.7
6,520
5.1
8,188
7/1
TNT
Sun.
2:30pm
Lenox Industrial
Tools 300
New Hampshire
4.1
5,270
4.8
6,167
7/7
TNT
Sat.
8:00pm
Pepsi 400 (l) Daytona
4.5
6,162
5.1
8,248
7/15
TNT
Sun.
4:00pm
USG Sheetrock 400 Chicagoland
4.8
6,365
5.2
6,772
7/29
ESPN
Sun.
2:00pm
Allstate 400 at
the Brickyard (b)
Indianapolis
4.9
6,574
5.5
8,645
8/5
ESPN
Sun.
2:00pm
Pennsylvania
500 (a)
Pocono
4.5
6,000
5.0
6,739
8/12
ESPN
Sun.
2:00pm
Centurion Boats
at The Glen (b)(o)
Watkins Glen
4.1
5,559
4.6
7,025
8/21
ESPN2
Tues.
10:00am
3M Performance
400 (a)(p)
Michigan
1.6
1,799
4.9
6,414
8/25
ESPN
Sat.
8:00pm
Sharpie 500 (a) Bristol
4.1
5,735
4.3
5,674
9/2
ESPN
Sun.
8:00pm
Sharp Aquos
500 (b)(q)
California
4.3
6,380
5.1
8,449
9/8
ABC
Sat.
7:00pm
Chevy Rock &
Roll 400 (a)(r)
Richmond
4.2
6,750
3.9
5,288


NOTES:  Ratings are Live+Same-Day. All cable marks are coverage-area ratings.  (a) = Aired on TNT in '06.  (b) = Aired on NBC in '06.  (c) = Formerly the Golden Corral 500, which earned a 3.7 on Fox in '06 for 145 minutes of rainout coverage. The '06 race aired on Monday from 11:00am-3:00pm on FX.  (d) = Formerly the DirecTV 500.  (e) = Fox earned a 4.4 for 114 minutes of rainout coverage on Sunday in '06. The '06 rating listed is for the actual race run the next day on FX.  (f) = Formerly the Crown Royal 400, who served as presenting sponsor in '07. Race in '07 was rained out on Saturday and run on Sunday afternoon.  (g) = Aired on FX in '06.  (h) = Formerly Dodge Charger 500. Race in '07 was rained out on Saturday and run on Sunday afternoon.  (i) = Rating in '06 includes a 19-minute rain delay.  (j) = Formerly the Neighborhood Excellence 400. Race in '07 was rained out on Sunday and run on Monday on Fox.  (k) = Experienced rain delays. Rating includes race and rain-delay coverage.  (l) = Aired on Fox in '06.  (m) = Previously the 3M Performance 400, which was shortened by rain in '06.  (n) = Formerly the Dodge/SaveMart 350.  (o) = Formerly the AMD at The Glen.  (p) = Race in '07 was rained out on Sunday and run on Tuesday morning on ESPN2.  (q) = Formerly the Sony HD 500.  (r) = Fast-national ratings information.

RESTARTS: In Virginia, Dustin Long reports ESPN missed six restarts among the 12 during the Richmond race Saturday night.  Long football, basketball and baseball games don't resume action until the network broadcasting the event returns from commercial. Why not NASCAR?" (VIRGINIAN PILOT, 9/12).  NASCAR spokesman Randy Poston wrote in an e-mail, "The idea of running extra laps is not something under consideration at this time -- our obligation is to run the races in line with what's happening on the track. Our objective is to get the race back to green as soon as possible. We would not want to introduce an artificial aspect that might influence on track strategy" (VIRGINIAPILOT.COM, 9/11).

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