Indy 500 Ratings Soar
May 31, 2005 | 8:46 A.M. EST
ABC's Indianapolis 500 broadcast on Sunday drew a 6.6 overnight rating and a 17 share, up 40% from last year and the highest since 1997.
Patrick, who became the first woman to hold the lead at the Indy 500, was definitely the catalyst for the increased interest in this year's race.
The ratings during the last 15 minutes of the race, which saw Patrick leading, spiked to 8.8/21. Last year's race, won by Patrick's Rahal-Letterman teammate Buddy Rice, drew a 4.7/11.
Dan Wheldon's victory was seen by more television viewers in the last eight years. Arie Luyendyk's victory in the 1997 race, which finished on a Tuesday because of rain, drew a 7.6/19.
Each overnight rating point represents about 735,000 TV homes.