NASCAR Notes - Chase for Championship not helping television ratings

Posted: Wednesday, September 29, 2004

TALLADEGA, Ala. The Chase for the Championship was supposed to pump new interest into the final 10 races of the Nextel Cup Series season as stock-car racing goes head-to-head with the National Football League.

Television ratings, however, show a decline.

The sport waited for ratings from Dover on Wednesday knowing Ryan Newman's blowout he led 325 of 400 laps at Dover, Del. won't help bring in new fans.

"I wonder if we're not all putting too much into individual race numbers," said Kyle Petty. "And the fact they haven't jumped the past couple of weeks doesn't mean the world is ending, either."

Ratings may have been affected by Hurricane Jeanne, which slammed into Florida Saturday night. Not only were thousands of fans without power in Florida, many were still trying to dig out from Hurricane Ivan a couple weeks earlier.

"During the New Hampshire race, they weren't watching television. They were either boarding up their houses or hunkering down waiting for a hurricane to come through," driver Greg Sacks said.

TRACKING NORTHWEST: International Speedway Corp., which already owns 12 speedways on the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series circuit, will build a new track 30 miles north of Seattle, giving the sport a presence in the Pacific Northwest.

The Great Northwest Speedway will be built on a 850-acre site near Marysville, the town's mayor confirmed Tuesday. It's expected to open in 2008.

The entire project is expected to cost about $300 million. Local officials said it would seat 75,000 fans and host one Nextel Cup Series race, as well as single events from smaller series, presumably the Busch and Craftsman Truck series.

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