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Press Snoop: Ratings good start for NASCAR future.


The Fox telecast of last Sunday's NASCAR Nextel Cup Dodge/Save Mart 250 race at Infineon Raceway was the highest rated televised sporting event that weekend with 8.2 million viewers.

The score put the race ahead of Major League baseball, World Cup soccer, PGA golf, track and field, College World Series and the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Saturday event at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The Monday morning 'overnights' gave the Cup race a 4.6 rating. The final stats on Thursday, from Nielsen Media Research, came up even higher, at 5.1 - the second highest Cup race at Infineon, second only last year's 5.7 rating at Infineon. This year showed a nine percent increase over the same race in 2004 - 4.7 on Fox.

One rating point is equivalent to one-percent of all US households.

The second-highest show last weekend was the Fox pre-race show, with a 3.1 rating. Locally, in northern California, the Cup race was shown live and received a 2.6 rating in San Francisco, and a 6.1 rating in Sacramento - both within an hour of the road course, which drew about 100,000 spectators. Sacramento's rating was up thirty per cent over last year's 4.7 rating.

USA Today's MICHAEL HIESTAND said Monday that NASCAR ratings "are remarkably consistent. No big surprise given that, unlike in other sports, the same athletes are competing in virtually every event."

BILL FRANCE, NASCAR chairman and CEO, said Thursday at Daytona that "television ratings, attendance, sometimes they can always be better. But, generally speaking, it's always pretty good."

France, who held a scheduled press conference at Daytona, also spoke on several other subjects, starting with confirmation that the NASCAR Car of Tomorrow has three benefits - safety, cost and competition - and moving on to the revelation that there will be 'adjustments' in the 2007 Chase for the Championship format next season.

"It's a natural time to do that," he said, "We have a new television partner in ABC and ESPN coming on board who will televise the final ten live on network television, matter of fact, including Richmond. So the ideal time for us to make adjustments, not major changes, but adjustments, will be in the off season this year.

"We'll be looking at nothing new. Everything we'll be looking at has been brought up by various people in the last couple years. We'll be looking at everything to see if we can make it a little bit better. There won't be a dramatic changes because the basic format is working well



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