Race Weekend Central

NASCAR TV Ratings Drop For Kobalt 400

NASCAR TV ratings are off to a sluggish start again in 2017. Despite a hyped-up weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the Cup Series’ Kobalt 400 faced a sharp decline in ratings from last year’s event.

Although the fight between Kyle Busch and Joey Logano garnered national attention, the race scored just a 3.58 final Nielsen rating with 5.973 million viewers. Compare that to the 4.4 rating and 7.2 million viewers the race had just a season ago.

The race did run one week earlier on the calendar last season. Last year, the spring race at Phoenix International Raceway occupied the weekend that played host to Las Vegas this year.

But the Phoenix spring race achieved a 4.0 rating, with 6.633 million viewers and 3.97 million between the ages of 18 and 49 – all numbers much larger than this year’s Las Vegas audience. 1.615 million viewers watched from the coveted 18-49 age block in 2017.

The Kobalt 400 was still the most watched sporting event of the weekend, placing second in the 18-49 bracket to only the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Selection Show.

Ratings for the XFINITY Series race at Las Vegas also declined from the series’ race at Phoenix last year. 1.620 million people, including 287,000 in the 18-49 age range, tuned in for the race at Las Vegas as the event scored a 0.98 rating.

Last year’s XFINITY race at Phoenix netted a 1.23 rating and 1.821 million viewers, with 443,000 between ages 18-49.

The XFINITY Series race at Las Vegas ranked 15th among sporting events for the week in overall viewers. It topped the Verizon IndyCar Series’ season opener at St. Petersburg, which had 1.199 million overall viewers and 283,000 between 18-49. That race notched a 0.80 rating and dropped in every category from the same race a year ago.

The release of the ratings was delayed several days due to a major winter storm causing power outages in the northeastern United States. However, there is no indication this factor skewed the ratings results.

About the author

Michael.massie 113x150

Michael Massie joined Frontstretch in 2017 and has served as the Content Director since 2020. Massie, a Richmond, Va., native, has covered NASCAR, IndyCar, SRX and the CARS Tour. Outside of motorsports, the Virginia Tech grad and Green Bay Packers minority owner can be seen cheering on his beloved Hokies and Packers.

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Bill B

Wow, I’m shocked. With all the new gimmicks I thought the ratings would soar. I’m sure the Phoenix race will do better since the only competition is college basketball and nobody watches that.

Capt Spaulding

Gee, I wonder which segment had the highest rating


I guess the decline must be all those people that thought it was Phoenix weekend, tuned in and saw it was Vegas and moved on. My kids aren’t as creative in excuse making.
At this rate, the ratings will be in 1 point something territory by May.


NASCAR has nothing to worry about as far as the TV ratings are concerned, at least for the near-future. The “event” that occurred after the race was all that the media was able to talk about, over and over. France must have wet himself when Kyle went after Joey! Too, this is the type of action that the 18-34-year-old male demographic craves, that same demographic that can’t wait to get into any situation where they would (hopefully) get the chance to throw a fist at someone. What do you think the main group is that generates the most incidents of road rage? And this is the main demographic that Monster Energy caters to. The ratings for Phoenix will be way up as that demographic tunes in, drooling, and waiting for blood to be spilled. A sad commentary on what this once-great sport has become.

And no, I for one won’t be watching this weekend, just for that reason. Let the young hot-heads have the sport.

Sol Shine

More diddling with the format, more people tuning out. Why does Nascar not get that? The decline started with the stupid Chase and hasn’t stopped since. Championship racing is about every race counting, not just 10, or 1 as it boils down to now. And now the stages, more nonsense. Slow learners down there in Nascar HQ I guess.


There’s one REAL slow learner at NASCAR HQ!


I’d contend the decline started when Daytona thought they could replace their core fanbase, close historic tracks, etc. Reap what you sew, I reckon.

Don in Ct

Not much to add to Sol’s comments. He hit the nail on the head. One thing that really galls me is listening to the ass kissing team of announcers telling us what a brilliant idea the segments are. Compared to the Formula 1 and Indycar broadcast teams, they are a joke.

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