Notes: Texas race TV viewership jumps

Updated: 

The thrilling Rainguard Water Sealers 600 won on June 10 by Will Power was a hit with fans watching it live on NBCSN.

The telecast was the highest-rated and most-viewed Verizon IndyCar Series race from Texas Motor Speedway on INDYCAR’s cable network partner in nearly a decade. The final rating of 0.35 represented a 35 percent increase over the August 2016 telecast of the Texas race’s conclusion. The 2016 race began in June but was halted after 71 laps due to rain and wet track conditions. Teams returned two months later to finish the 248-lap race.

This year’s race drew 561,000 viewers on NBCSN, a 45 percent jump from the 2016 race conclusion and the most-viewed Verizon IndyCar Series NBSCN-only telecast since the 2015 season finale. The telecast was especially popular in the local Dallas/Fort Worth market, where it drew a 0.95 rating – the highest cable rating for a Verizon IndyCar Series race in that market since 2011.

Nationwide, the race was the highest-rated cable telecast from Texas Motor Speedway since 2008, when the race on ESPN2 earned a 1.0 rating and 939,160 viewers.

NBCSN will televise the next Verizon IndyCar Series race, the KOHLER Grand Prix at Road America, live at 12:30 p.m. ET June 25. NBCSN also carries same-day coverage of Verizon P1 Award qualifying from Road America at 5 p.m. ET June 24.

Dixon’s team qualifies fifth in class at Le Mans

Scott Dixon’s bid to add a 24 Hours of Le Mans victory to his lengthy list of racing accomplishments will begin from the fifth starting position in the GTE Pro class on Saturday.

Teammate and former Verizon IndyCar Series driver Ryan Briscoe qualified the No. 69 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT 36th overall and fifth in class Thursday night for the iconic, twice-around-the-clock endurance sports car race. Dixon – the four-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion, 2008 Indianapolis 500 winner and fourth-ranked all time in Indy car wins with 40 – is teamed with Briscoe and Richard Westbrook for the second straight year at Le Mans as they look to improve on a third-place finish a year ago.

Tony Kanaan, the 20th-year Indy car driver and Dixon’s Verizon IndyCar Series teammate at Chip Ganassi Racing, is part of the defending champion No. 69 Ford GT team that qualified 12th in highly competitive class and 43rd overall. Kanaan, making his Le Mans debut, is substituting for the injured Sebastien Bourdais.

Mikhail Aleshin of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports helped qualify his No. 27 SMP Racing Dallara PS217 in 10th position in the LMP2 class and 16th overall. Townsend Bell, the NBCSN analyst on Verizon IndyCar Series telecasts, is part of the No. 62 Scuderia Ferrari Corsa entry that qualified third in the GTE Am class and 47th overall.

Former Indy car drivers Mike Conway is part of the Toyota TS050 hybrid team that shattered the track record at Circuit de le Sarthe by more than two seconds in winning the pole position.

The 24-hour race starts at 9 a.m. ET Saturday. Coverage airs on FS1 from 8:30-10 a.m. Saturday, from 1 p.m. Saturday to 1 a.m. Sunday on FS2 and from 1-9:30 a.m. Sunday on FS1.

From the fans