Danica Patrick’s popularity already fading in NASCAR?

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Is Danica-mania over in NASCAR-land?

Well, that may be a bit strong, but the Nielsen TV ratings for the Feb. 20 NASCAR Nationwide race would indicate that they have at least faded a bit.

The Nationwide race in California last Saturday earned a 1.5 rating nationall, meaning 1.7 million households nationwide tuned in. Not bad, but down from Patrick’s first Nationwide race in Daytona a week earlier (Feb. 13), which garnered a 2.8 rating nationally (3.1 million TV households).

In the Indianapolis TV market, the California race—where Patrick finished 31st—earned a 4.5 Nielsen rating, meaning 51,000 households tuned in. That also is down from Daytona, which scored a 6.9 (74,000 TV households).

But Danica-mania has another chance to blossom tomorrow when the Nationwide Series races in Las Vegas. Green flag drops at 4 p.m. (ET) and race is telecast on ESPN2.

After Las Vegas, Danica will take a break from fendered cars and go open-wheel racing for a while. The Izod IndyCar Series opens March 14 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

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