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Sunday’s Mid-Ohio race was most-watched for NBC Sports Group


This weekend’s Honda Indy 200 from the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course produced the most-watched race for the Verizon IndyCar Series on an NBC Sports Group broadcast since the rights began in 2009, when the network now known as NBCSN was then known as VERSUS.

Owing to a bit of a quirk – the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ race from Pocono Raceway was rain-delayed from Sunday to Monday – it allowed IndyCar’s race to be live simulcast on both CNBC, where it was scheduled initially, and on NBCSN once coverage moved from Pocono to Mid-Ohio.

Per an NBC Sports Group release, NBCSN’s and CNBC’s simulcast of the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio this past Sunday averaged 929,000 viewers to rank as NBC Sports Group’s most-watched IndyCar race ever, since acquiring rights prior to the 2009 season.

Sunday’s race (2:40-4:46 p.m. ET) was the most-watched IndyCar race on cable since 2008 (ESPN, Richmond, 947,000). Viewership peaked in the 3-3:15 p.m. ET quarter hour with more than 1.3 million viewers (1.326 million).

Following are NBC Sports Group’s five most-watched IndyCar races:

Date Race Viewership
July 31, 2016 Mid-Ohio 929,000
August 30, 2015 Sonoma 841,000
August 2, 2015 Mid-Ohio 666,000
July 24, 2011 Edmonton 642,000
August 23, 2015 Pocono 635,000

NBC Sports Group will continue its exclusive cable coverage of the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series on Sunday, August 21, with live coverage of the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

For good measure, NASCAR’s rain-delayed race on NBCSN on Monday went down as NBC Sports’ best race in terms of live streaming.  You can see more details on that, below:

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry. Time just published a brief piece by Wallace saluting Hamilton as a trailblazer.

The idea of Hamilton attending the NASCAR season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it would seem right for Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — to spend some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).