Sunday marks the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500, the pinnacle of American open-wheel racing—and yet a race that probably won’t post better ratings than NASCAR’s Coca Cola 600, which runs later the same day. NASCAR is king in the hearts of American race fans, with its Super Bowl of racing, the Daytona 500, posting higher ratings than the Indy 500 in each of the last 15 years.
Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Times-Dispatch notes that Daytona has more than doubled the Indy ratings in many of the years since 2000. Meanwhile Indy, which is run at midday, has bested the Coca Cola 600, which is run at night, only once in the last five years.
That came in 2009, when the Coke race was rained out and run the following afternoon.
Last year the Indy 500 posted a 3.6 national television rating, in comparison to a 7.7 for the Daytona 500 and a 4.0 for the Coca Cola 600. Each ratings point represents 1 percent of homes with a TV.