Time For NASCAR To Give Up The Good Fight Against The NFL – Forbes

Jimmie Johnson pits during Sunday’s NASCAR race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

The Charlotte Motor Speedway announced in April that it was moving its October NASCAR Monster Energy Cup race from Saturday night to Sunday afternoon, its news release noting the switch would foster “on-track competition and a schedule-friendly weekend format for families.”

Jimmie Johnson was quoted in the release, saying, “A day race will allow us to run so many more lanes and, I think, create such an entertaining and compelling race. . . . I’m really excited for a hot, slick, day race.”

So, naturally, when race day came last Sunday, the start of the race had to be moved up an hour because of . . . a threat of rain. Martin Truex Jr., the points leader, powered to his sixth victory of the season in a Toyota, which is dominating the series.

The race was not hot or slick, literally or figuratively.

It was easy to see that the seats in the grandstand at Charlotte — in the very heart of stock-car country! — had multi-colored backs, because most of them were empty of either families or single people. It was of no help that the Carolina Panthers, the pretty good local NFL team, happened to be playing at the same time, in Detroit.

The TV numbers came rolling in later in the week, and they were grim. Despite being aired on broadcast TV, the race drew 2.9 million viewers on NBC, according to ShowBuzz Daily. Sports Media Watch said it was the lowest rated Cup Series race on broadcast television since at least 2000 and the least-watched since at least 2001.

And there are still six races left in the season. You really wonder if anybody will be watching the “championship” race Nov. 19 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, either in the stands or on the couch at home. All six races, incidentally, are on Sunday afternoons: NFL time.