Story By: JAMES HALLAS / NASCAR – DAYTONA BEACH, FL – As NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver Chase Elliott sailed his No. 9 Chevrolet across the Phoenix Raceway finish line to capture his first NASCAR Cup Series championship, several more numbers came into focus, none more important than this one: 36.
Together, the NASCAR industry accomplished the improbable, completing a full 36-race NASCAR Cup Series schedule, making it the only major sport to complete a full season in 2020. Not only did NASCAR run every race despite several challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, NASCAR saw numerous positive trends both on and off the track.
On the track, the sport enjoyed some of the most competitive racing in years, evidenced by an increased number of passes, both for the lead and throughout the field.
The intense racing led to viewership on television remaining stable during the most competitive television landscape in history, while NASCAR’s social and digital metrics enjoyed several increases across its platforms.
Finally, positive buzz around NASCAR’s brand is trending 25% higher than last year, a testament to the incredible strides the sport made to get back to racing under incredibly challenging circumstances.
Below is a full “by the numbers” look at milestones from NASCAR’s 2020 season.
23.3 – Average age of NASCAR’s national series champions: Cup Series, Chase Elliott (24.11); Xfinity Series, Austin Cindric (22.1); Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series, Sheldon Creed (23).
1,190 – Green flag passes for the lead in the NASCAR Cup Series, second-most in the past 14 seasons.
20.0 – The average number of lead changes per NASCAR Cup Series race, the most since 2014 (21.17).
20 – Number of races with a margin of victory of less than a second, most since 2014.
1988 – The last year that NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver won the championship (Bill Elliott).
4 – NASCAR transitioned from a series entitlement model to a premier partner model that welcomed four global leading brands as premier partners – Busch Beer, Coca-Cola, Geico and Xfinity.
3 – Three new teams have announced they will enter the NASCAR Cup Series in 2021, including 23XI Racing owned by Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin.
90,391 – Health questionnaires returned from essential personnel who enter the race track.
102,347 – Documented temperatures taken from essential personnel.
45,100 & 39,000 – Number of cloth and disposable masks purchased to help essential personnel combat the virus while in-venue.
205 – Number of thermometers purchased for at-track health screenings.
2 – Pulse oximeters purchased to be used at secondary screening locations.
64 – Gallons of high-grade disinfectant solution purchased to disinfect the garage area.
94 – National Series races conducted in 2020, completing the entire schedule.
5,000 – First responders and military personnel invited to attend the first sporting event with fans at Homestead-Miami Speedway on June 14.
1969 – The last year NASCAR introduced three new venues to a NASCAR Cup Series schedule. The 2021 NASCAR Cup Series schedule will introduce three new racetracks and two new layouts at iconic venues.
Fan Engagement (Television & Digital)
3.058M – Average viewers on television of the NASCAR Cup Series, off just -2% year-over-year during one of the most competitive television landscapes in history.
+1% – NASCAR viewership was up across races 2 thru 36 (excluding a rain impacted DAYTONA 500) – consistently bringing a stable audience each weekend.
+11 – On FS1, weekday editions of “NASCAR Race Hub” were up 11% this season compared to 2019 (show started back on Jan. 27).
190+ – NASCAR content was distributed in over 190 countries and territories.
+7% – Total visits to NASCAR’s digital platform rose +7% from 2019.
+10% – Increase in the amount of time fans are spending on NASCAR’s digital platforms on race days.
+56% – NASCAR social media engagements have increased significantly.
18% – Increase in NASCAR Mobile App downloads year-over-year.
30% – @NASCARonFOX recorded a +30% increase over 2019 with more than 431 million views across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
8.6M – Video of drivers pushing Bubba Wallace’s car to the front of the grid at Talladega is FOX Sports’ most-watched Twitter video of all time on any account with 8.6 million views.
140+ – Live races aired in debut season of OTT platform TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.
6 – eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series events on FOX and FS1 that rank as the highest-rated esports TV programs of all time.
2M – New unique viewers (people who had not previously watched NASCAR in 2020) that tuned into the seven eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series events on FOX and FS1.
3 – Deals brokered with sports-betting operators (Penn National Gaming, BetMGM, WynnBET).
1st – NASCAR became the first league to join responsible betting campaigns with the American Gaming Association and National Center for Responsible Betting.
10 – Chase Elliot’s first Cup Series title resulted in the most first-day merchandise sales of any NASCAR champion in the last 10 years.
+78% – Overall NASCAR Shop Sales are significantly up year-over-year / since NASCAR’s return to racing in May, NASCAR Shop Sales are +147% year-over-year.
- Television Metrics Source: The Nielsen Company
- Digital Metrics Source: Adobe Analytics
- Social Metrics Sources: Conviva and Meltwater