The Chase for the Sprint Cup finale picked up viewers with the tight competition for the championship.
Sunday's race in Homestead, Fla., earned a 4.0 rating on ESPN. The network said Tuesday that was up 18 percent from last year. It was also up from the 3.6 for the 2009 race on ABC.
Ratings for the Chase on ESPN and ABC increased 14.8 percent from 2010, averaging a 3.1. Excluding rainout races, ESPN and ABC's NASCAR Sprint Cup coverage for 2011 averaged a 3.2, up more than 6 percent from last year.
Tony Stewart seized his third Cup championship Sunday, winning the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway and holding off rival Carl Edwards for a tie in the final Sprint Cup Series standings — good enough to win the title based on his five victories.