The downward trend of television ratings continued, as Sunday's race from New Hampshire got a 2.3 US rating, down from the 3.2 it got in 2009.
It's important to note that last year's race was on ABC and that Sunday's race was on ESPN, but the race was ESPN's lowest rated telecast of the year. It was also the first race of the season that has gone head to head with the NFL.
However, it was the first race of the Chase, and given the (perhaps falsely created) expectations that this is the most wide-open the Chase has been since its inception, then it stands to reason that the race would have performed better.
And it's not like ESPN's television coverage is pushing viewers away. ESPN's coverage has been very good so far -- the best of the three networks who televise the sport. (Before you claim that your favorite driver that missed the Chase is ignored once the Chase starts, realize that your driver probably didn't get much coverage in the first place)
So what gives, NASCAR fans? Is the NFL really that much of a power, perhaps giving credence to the line of thinking that NASCAR should avoid going head to head with the NFL? It's certainly not the racing, which was exceptional on Sunday. If you're a NASCAR fan in a non-NFL market, are you watching football or racing on Sundays?