California Sets New Viewer Record

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - The Auto Club 500, the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race held last Sunday at California Speedway, was the second most-watched sporting event of the weekend.

The Auto Club 500 also finished as the highest-rated NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event in the speedway's history.

An average of 9,817,000 viewers tuned in the Auto Club 500, a 19% increase over the viewers that tuned in to the 2003 event. An average of 6,577,000 households tuned in to the Auto Club 500, a 17% increase over the households that tuned in to the 2003 event.

The Auto Club 500, won by four-time series champion Jeff Gordon, ranked second only to the 130th running of the Kentucky Derby. It out-rated the Los Angeles Lakers-San Antonio Spurs NBA playoff game, which it aired directly against. The Auto Club 500 also aired directly against the PGA, AFL, NHL Playoffs, MLB and LPGA.

The viewing success of the Auto Club 500 comes on the heels of the Aaron's 499, the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event held April 25 at Talladega Superspeedway. The Aaron’s 499 was the highest-rated, most-watched sporting event of that weekend. It also was the second most-watched event in Talladega history.

Several key markets have shown year-to-date household viewing increases in 2004. They are Orlando (39%), Miami (31%), Dallas (28%), Los Angeles (19%), New York (10%), Atlanta (15%) and Seattle (19%).

The largest growing demographic viewer groups for the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series are females ages18-24 (a 27% increase over 2003), females ages18 to 34 (20%) and males ages 18-24 (11%).

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