Fox Sports has ended another NASCAR season and it continued its theme for 2017 finishing with another ratings low. The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup race at Sonoma on FS1 Sunday finished with a 2.0 final rating and 3.2 million viewers. That’s down 17% in ratings and viewership from last year (2.4/3.9 million).

That’s the lowest rating for the race dating back to 1998 and lowest viewership since 2002. Sports Media Watch points out that when the race aired on TNT in 2012, Sonoma had a 3.3 rating and 5.2 million viewers. For the season, Fox/FS1’s 15 Cup races either set or tied a multi-year ratings low. Twelve races set or tied multi-year viewership lows.

Back in March, we noted the low ratings and how NASCAR has tried to stem the tide with various tweaks to the points system, changes on how races are run, but they still haven’t been enough to reverse the fall.

Here are some of the races on Fox or FS1 that have suffered lows:

Michigan (FS1, 6/18) — 1.85 rating/3.1 million viewers (ratings down 16%/viewership off 9% from last year), lowest ratings since 1996, lowest viewership dating back to 2000.

Pocono (FS1, 6/11) — 2.2 rating/3.56 million viewers (ratings down from 2.3/viewership down 2% from last year), lowest-rated (excluding rainouts) since 2000 and least-viewed since 2001.

Dover (FS1, 6/4) — 2.1 rating/3.4 million viewers (ratings and viewership off 16% from 2016), lowest-rated race since at least 1998 and least-watched since 2001.

Charlotte (Fox, 5/28) — 2.8 rating/4.6 million viewers (ratings down 18%/viewership down 19%), lowest-rated since 1996 and least viewed since 2000.

Kansas (FS1, 5/13) — 1.55 rating/2.6 million viewers (rating down 18%/viewership decreased by 17% from the year before), tied as the lowest-rated race and 2nd lowest-viewed since 2011.

Talladega (Fox, 5/7) — 3.5 rating/5.9 million viewers (ratings down 13%/viewership off 11% from last year), lowest ratings since 1997 and lowest-viewed since 2001.

Richmond (Fox, 4/30) — 2.9 rating/4.6 million viewers (ratings dropped 6%/viewership down 4% from 2016), ratings tied for lowest since 2001 with viewership lowest since 2004.

Phoenix (Fox, 3/19) – 3.3. rating/5.4 million viewers (ratings down 18%/viewership off 19% versus last year), it was the 4th lowest-rated ever NASCAR race on Fox.

Las Vegas (Fox, 3/12) – 3.6 rating/6.0 million viewers (rating down 18%/viewership off 17% compared to last year), lowest ratings in the history of the race, viewership lowest since 2001

Atlanta (Fox, 3/5) – 3.8 rating/6.6 million viewers (ratings down 7%/viewership off 3% from last year), lowest race rating since 1998 for race following Daytona.

Daytona (Fox, 2/26) — 6.6 rating/11.9 million viewers (ratings flat/viewership up 5% from 2016), tied for second-lowest race since 1979.

So you can see how the ratings and viewership have decreased. And by setting record lows, it’s a massive cause for concern for both NASCAR and its TV partners. With NBC taking over the season this weekend, the Peacock is hoping that it won’t suffer as much, but there’s no evidence at this point that it can reverse the fall.

[Ratings info from Sports Media Watch/]

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the three Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.

  • Ron D

    Well I gave up watching NASCAR a few years back due to constant commercials and racing that is not very exciting. The road courses and Talladega will catch my attention on occasion as those are the races that are not guaranteed to be won by a powerhouse team. I think it was the Sonoma race where only 38 cars were entered with NASCAR allowing a 40 car field. The point races within a race seem silly to me…i feel NASCAR needs to make it so all teams are competitive and make the cars more stock.

  • Kimberly Anne Brown

    I hope the “raters” know we can watch on other devices besides TVs

  • inku palios

    Maybe NASCAR’s time has come & gone. In reality, NASCAR is part of a culture that is not part of a new America.

  • Deon Hamner

    Nascar has been a slow leak for a couple of years now. With Jeff Gordon and Little E retiring after this year. Good luck. Also being on FS1 don’t help either…

  • Rick Rector

    Darrell and Gay Ass Michael are a huge part of the problem.

    • Kevin Eggleston


  • Toby Moore

    What little credibility NASCAR had with me went out the window when title sponsorship went from Sprint to Monster Energy Drink. Stay classy, NASCAR.

    Couple the Monster sponsorship with the multi-stage races for scoring purposes and the whole thing has that desperate stink of trying too hard all over it.

    Done with NASCAR.

  • Jessy Scholl

    We should point out one more thing about the NASCAR races, many of the previous lows were due to weather related events that most likely delayed or postponed races. One of the most telling things about NASCAR’s ratings is that the previous low for the Daytona 500 was in 1979. Back in 1979, that rating was a great rating for NASCAR. And the finish? How about Richard Petty winning the race while there is a spin and dust-up between Cale Yarbrough and the Allisons. Who won the 2017 race? Kurt Busch and I had to look up the results. What doesn’t even help is that the race is moved to the end of February and isn’t even run on Presidents Day Weekend.

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  • Mark Brown

    Toyocar and the French puppets. The French Connection sold out to Toyota, cable tv, abandon the confederate flag and the race cars are over engineered junk!

  • Jeff Romkey

    they rely to much on new tech ,and not enough on the drivers skill even and now its a money show .they could also stop splitting the races up between so many different networks ,I get to see less then halve the damn season .oh and did I mention the fact that they have made religion the apple pie and nationalism their main attraction .