NASCAR ratings are up slightly since June 10, when the sport announced that it would prohibit the display of the Confederate flag from all events and properties.
That year-over-year data point, shared by a Fox Sports exec, runs contrary to a claim made on Monday morning by President Donald Trump.
“Has @BubbaWallace apologized to all of those great NASCAR drivers & officials who came to his aid, stood by his side, & were willing to sacrifice everything for him, only to find out that the whole thing was just another HOAX?” Trump had tweeted. “That & Flag decision has caused lowest ratings EVER!”
Michael Mulvihill, FOX Sports EVP and Head of Strategy, proceeded to note that “NASCAR viewership on Fox networks is up +8% since returning from its pandemic hiatus on May 17.”
Most recently for Fox Sports, the Pocono Cup race on June 27 drew 2.66 million total viewers (excluding the weather delay), up 11 percent from the network’s broadcast of the same event last summer. NBC’s July 5 broadcast the Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400 meanwhile delivered 4.4 million, up sharply from the same race last year (which aired in September, opposite football), and marking the Brickyard 400’s biggest audience since 2017 (the last time it was run during the summer).
Fox Sports this Sunday will air the Quaker State 400 from Kentucky, followed by the NASCAR All-Star Race on July 15.
The rest of President Trump’s NASCAR-themed tweet also came under fire, for framing as a “hoax” what at the time was rightly perceived to be a potentially racist incident, when a rope fashioned as a noose was found hanging in the garage of Bubba Wallace, the only full-time Black driver in the sport’s elite Cup Series. Following an investigation, NASCAR said that per the FBI’s report and photographic evidence, “the garage door pull rope fashioned like a noose had been positioned there since as early as last fall… well before [Wallace’s] team’s arrival and garage assignment.”
Addressing Trump’s call for an apology, NASCAR driver Tyler Reddick tweeted on Monday, “We don’t need an apology.” By marching in solidarity with Wallace ahead of the GEICO 500, “What we did what was right and we will do just fine without your support.”
As for Trump’s inaccurate use of the word “hoax,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters on Monday, “The president is making a broader point that judging before the facts are out is not acceptable.”