Here's a bit of surprising news: despite acres of empty seats at Dover, overnight ratings were up for the FedEx 400 from last year, from 3.6 to 3.8. That marked the highest rating since Talladega, even though the attendance was the lowest since NASCAR began listing attendance in 2003.
Overall, ratings have been solid for the Cup Series this season. No, they haven't experienced a huge upswing over last season, but they haven't been down either, which in this time of declining ratings across the board is a good thing.
We could go and parse the ratings, but let's be honest here: we're all just waiting to see if the NFL punts (ha!) its season this year. If the lockout persists into September, and it sure looks like it will, that's when we'll see ratings take center stage.
Another point: if you're in the business of making those gargantuan banners to cover large swathes of empty seats, you're in high cotton these days. Charge when others are retreating, I guess.