A one-hour rain delay and a late night finish led to declines for the final race of the NASCAR regular season.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup “Federated Auto Parts 400″ from Richmond drew a 3.3 final rating and 5.079 million viewers on ABC Saturday night, down 11% in ratings and 18% in viewership from last year (3.7, 6.167M), and up 6% and down 4%, respectively, compared to 2010 (3.1, 5.288M).
The race started over an hour late due to rain, and did not conclude until after 1:30 AM ET.
With the caveat that rain was obviously a factor, this marks the least-viewed edition of the race since 2008 (3.974M). That year, the race ran on a Sunday afternoon on ESPN after being postponed due to weather the previous day.
Excluding postponed races, this marks the least-viewed edition of the race since 2003, when coverage on TNT drew 5.077 million.
Despite the lower numbers, Saturday’s race earned the top audience of the night on television, topping college football coverage on ESPN, ESPN2 and FOX. College football, of course, likely attracted a larger combined audience across the various networks.
(Saturday’s numbers from ESPN)