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Saturday, March 2, 2024

NASCAR And F1 Are Competing For US Racing Fans. Is There Room For Both?

  • NASCAR ends its season this weekend at Phoenix Raceway.
  • Formula 1 will debut its Las Vegas Grand Prix later this month.
David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports

NASCAR is taking over Phoenix on Friday for its championship weekend, which will crown season-long winners across its Cup, Xfinity, and truck series. 

But the 75-year-old American racing circuit is dealing with new competition on home soil as it looks ahead to 2024 and beyond.

Sunday’s Cup final is sandwiched in between two Formula 1 races — Austin in October and this month’s Las Vegas Grand Prix debut. Moving forward, F1 will have three annual races in the U.S., including the Miami Grand Prix.

“F1 putting a spotlight on the sport as a whole, I think, helps all forms of motorsports,” NASCAR chief operating officer Steve O’Donnell told Front Office Sports. “And we continue to be optimistic about our growth.”

Like F1, NASCAR is partnering with Netflix to film a docuseries around this season’s Cup Series playoffs. The latter previously produced its own docuseries, “Race for the Championship,” which aired on USA Network in the wake of the rousing success of F1’s “Drive to Survive.”

On American television, NASCAR is the clear winner, even though its season-long viewership is trending slightly down, averaging 2.87 million viewers through last week’s race compared to just over 3 million last season. Halfway through this season, F1 had been outpacing last year’s record average of 1.21 up to 1.24 million — still less than half what NASCAR draws.

Next up for NASCAR is completing its next set of media rights deals for 2025. The CW has already signed on to take over its Xfinity Series rights, and Fox and NBC are believed to be close to extending their partnerships. O’Donnell did tell FOS that he sees room for NASCAR to exist on network/cable television and streaming. 

F1 has two years remaining on ESPN.

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