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Driver Busch credits IndyCar for increased 500 TV ratings

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Kurt Busch on Friday credited IndyCar's promotion of the Indianapolis 500 for a bump in the television ratings.

ABC's telecast on Sunday earned a 3.9 rating, averaging 6.2 million viewers. It was up from 3.7 in 2013, and up in many traditional NASCAR markets.

The ratings increase could be attributed to Busch running both the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 on the same day, the first double attempt since 2004. He finished sixth in his Indy debut, but an engine failure at Charlotte Motor Speedway prevented him from completing all 1,100 miles in the 600.

"There was a lot of promotion done from everybody," Busch said at Dover International Speedway, where he returned to his full-time NASCAR job. "The IndyCar Series sends drivers all around the country to promote the race. The Coke 600 is a strong race on a Sunday night timeslot, prime-time TV. I didn't hurt the ratings, no. I only did my part to create awareness for motorsports and the military. Did I help bump the ratings? Maybe I did."

Among metered markets, Indianapolis led the ratings for the Indy 500 with a 12.9. The race is shown on tape delay in Indy. ABC noted increases in traditionally strong NASCAR TV markets, including Greenville, S.C., which earned a 6.2 and was up from 5.0.

Jacksonville, Fla., was up to a 5.9 from 3.6 last year, and Richmond, Va., was at 5.6, up from 4.1. Charlotte, N.C., did a 5.2, up from 4.2, and Birmingham, Ala., and Atlanta also saw increases.

Meanwhile, the NASCAR race on Fox earned a 4.1 rating, making it the most-watched sports program of last weekend. It was down from a 4.3 in 2013.

Busch was the first driver in 10 years to attempt "The Double." According to Joyce Julius & Associates, Busch received 2.5 times more mentions than Indy 500 pole sitter Ed Carpenter in the week leading up to the Indy 500.

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  • cHiEf as usual
    As usual chiEf you don’t make any sense; even if the ratings were higher then Nascars you would of complained and still had to spend your quarters in the ladies room to get supplies. It’s an improvement as was attendance, sponsorship and vending sales. So wait again till next year. I bet even your dogs ran away from you (smiley face )
  • NASCAR wins again
    NASCAR 4.1 vs 3.9 for the 500. Probably good for 78th on the 100 most watched sporting events of the year. Great job IMS, you can't even beat NASCAR at Martinsville on a cold mid-march day. My idea to make it better is to make the carz look uglier that way more people will tune in. Yup, the +0.2 increase in ratings proves this. More bumpers and latex clan gimps please. Wow, Kurt is a internet TV ratings eggspurt.
    • IndyCar Reach
      Hmmm. Most of the upticks are in markets where IndyCar is or has run. Perhaps it is time to work toward a Richmond and Charlotte return. Both are fun tracks, and ovals too.

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