TV Numbers:  We’re Past Martinsville… Thankfully!

Finally, Martinsville.  Last year, Martinsville was the first race back for Chase Elliott after his snowboarding injury.  For the first time this year, there is no “Chase Elliott Effect” in play.  Plus, there was no Easter.  No Dirt.  No channel changes.  We had something as close to a YoY comparison as we’ve had all season.  The one thing that no one really saw coming when the 2024 schedule was set was Caitlin Clark and Iowa’s run into the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship game against undefeated South Carolina and the impact that would have.  Going head-to-head into a 17+ million viewer buzz-saw known as the Women’s Championship game was not anticipated, but as they say, it was what it was. 

With all that said, FS1 reported 2.191 million viewers tuned in for Sunday’s Martinsville race.  This was essentially flat from 2023’s numbers (2.218 million) for the race with 27K fewer viewers for a 1.22% loss.  

Considering the competition, that’s nothing to scoff at.  The YoY comparison produced the following numbers for the season-starting with huge viewership gains, sliding into two ratings declines-


As we’ve discussed earlier, the positives “gained” this year was a result of Chase Elliott’s absence caused a significant number of fans to not tune in last season.  Those losses from 2022, when he raced to 2023, when he was injured were large enough to cast doubt on how comparable they were.

 Chase Elliott, and Denny Hamlin, lead the field during the NASCAR Cup Series Cook Out 400 at Martinsville Speedway on April 07, 2024 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Adding Martinsville YoY to the previous comparisons between 2022 vs 2024 viewership numbers that eliminate the “Chase Elliott Effect” you get a different and more accurate picture of that direction. 


When you look at the two tables you see 2024 is 2.531 million viewers and 12.15% gain over the 2023 numbers which were depressed due to Chase’s absence.  If you take his absence out of the equation, the 2024 numbers are essentially flat, with a 0.401 million viewer drop for a resultant -1.55% loss.

With the huge numbers put up by Caitlin Clark and company last week which are not usually encountered, plus a weekend mess at Texas, which will be facing off against the closing round of The Masters, plus the schedule shift (2023 was in the Playoffs), plus a broadcast partner shift (2023 was in the NBC portion of the schedule on USA) who knows what we’ll get this time.

The Texas Playoff race on USA got 2.000 million viewers last year.  The ninth race of the season last year was Martinsville, which we have seen pulled a 2.218 million viewers in 2023 on FS1.  So, we’ll have several different comparison options available this week.  

Two things that this exercise has shown though is 1) Chase’s absence had a major impact on the numbers last year.  Any growth reported YoY are a result in large part to his return and fans tuning back in to see him race, and 2) Atlanta’s move to the second race of the season and following Daytona was a big plus that allowed them to gain over 0.500 million viewers from 2022 when he raced there last.

Now that we are out of the “Chase Elliott Effect” string of races for now, hopefully we can get enough data to determine just what kind of impact NETFLIX and some of the other season positives have had on viewership.

That’s just going to take a bit more races and a lot more numbers than are available right now.  
Tune in folks to see what kind of race Texas puts on this week and how many of your friends joined you.

We’ll talk again, later!

Thunder On… and Stay Safe

David Nance

Photo Credit (cover): Photo found at

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