NASCAR got bad news after the championship race in the form of a decline in ratings over the final race last year. Considering Homestead had so many story lines, you would have thought it would have a TV ratings bonanza. Two drivers that can't stand each other -- Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski -- were in the Championship 4. Martin Truex Jr. and Furniture Row Racing, had been dominating all year until a recent slump. It was also Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Matt Kenseth's last race, and it was the next to last race for Danica Patrick, who announced her retirement just days before. The race was on NBC and wasn't even up against compelling competition.
However, the was a silver lining. Even though TV viewership was down, the race was officially sold out. Even better, the "sell out" crowd showed up. Oftentimes sporting events will be billed as a sell out, but a scan of the stands puts the claim in doubt.
This race was packed according to the eye test and to the Herald Sun. That shouldn't be a surprise, given the story lines and the fact that it was the final race of the year, but given the struggles NASCAR has had convincing people to tune in at home, it's a good sign that so many were willing to leave the comfort of their couch to watch the race.