Ryan Blaney has a connection to NASCAR that runs deeper than most drivers due to his father, Dave, who raced in 473 Cup Series races during his career. The Team Penske rider cares about the sport and wants to see it succeed.
This is evident in his races and willingness to periodically join Fox’s broadcast booth and work as an analyst during Xfinity Series races. He does whatever it takes to promote the sport.
Against this backdrop, it was no surprise this week to see the 29-year-old driver talking about the latest TV ratings, which have seen an increase, and wondering why the improved numbers aren’t getting the same attention and the same reaction from the fans as the negatives.
NASCAR TV ratings rebound after terrible start
TV ratings didn’t look good in the first eight races of the NASCAR Cup Series in 2023. In fact, they looked downright terrible. With the exception of Daytona and the Auto Club, which saw audience declines of 7.7% and 5.6%, respectively, all other races saw double-digit declines, Circuit of the Americas being the most down at 16.1%.
Unsurprisingly, a number of fans, including those who regularly suggest the sport is dying, said the drop in viewership only confirmed that NASCAR was heading in the wrong direction.
Then Martinsville came along. And Talladega. And now Dover. The past three weeks have all seen an increase in viewership. Monday’s Monster Mile race averaged 1.067 million viewers on FS1 compared to last year’s race, which averaged 944,000 and also took place on a Monday.
Ryan Blaney wonders why good grades don’t get so much attention
The jump in numbers is definitely a positive trend and something racing fans were talking about around the water cooler this week. But Ryan Blaney doesn’t think the good news is talked about enough and raised the issue this week on Twitter.
“It’s crazy that when the rating is down, everyone loses their minds and says it’s trash, but when the rating is up, it gets 1/4 of the attention,” said- he writes. “I guess what I’m saying is I would like people to show the same reaction when things are positive that people show when it’s negative.”
Blaney’s tweet received considerable response, including from those in the industry like veteran voice Dave Moody.
“We live in a Chicken Littles society, always emphasizing the negatives,” he replied.
Chase Elliott effect?
Interestingly, in those first eight races with lower odds, Blaney’s good friend Chase Elliott missed six while recovering from surgery after sustaining a knee injury in a snowboarding accident. .
In the days leading up to his return to Martinsville, NASCAR pulled out all the stops in a social media publicity blitz to promote the return of the sport’s most popular driver. Fellow pilots were openly enthusiastic about his return, several of whom admitted they hoped it might have an impact on grades.
Apparently it was. And his friend wants everyone to know.
For the latest news and information on NASCAR’s three National Series, visit @kdsportswriter on Twitter.
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