NASCAR Needs Danica to Get on a Roll

AP Photo

Danica Patrick is only one of 43 drivers lined up to race each Sunday, but on her slender back rest hopes for another growth spurt for Nascar, which exploded in the 1990s. Average race attendance of 98,000 fans last year was the lowest attendance since Nascar started announcing attendance figures in 2003 (the peak was 2005 with 130,000 fans per race).

TV viewership per race peaked at 8.5 million in 2005, according to Nielsen, but outside of 2011 it has slid every year since and hit 5.8 million last year. Revenues at Nascar’s two main publicly traded track operators, International Speedway Corp. and Speedway Motorsports, are down 22% and 20% since 2008.


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