It should not have come as a surprise the NASCAR Cup race televised Sunday would draw a huge viewership.

Since the start of the stay-at-home orders around the country as a result of the coronavirus pandemic in April, there have been no live sporting events taking place.

No NBA, no NHL, no pro baseball, no racing and no college sports.

So last weekend NASCAR raced at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina, and there was a golf exhibition televised.

Both had no fans on hand, similar to what a mixed martial arts sanctioning body did the week before.

So when the preliminary numbers of viewers that tuned in to all or part of the race Sunday were released, it showed NASCAR drew a 3.7 share of those watching the television.

It was the most people that tuned into watch a race at Darlington since 2011 and the most for a NASCAR race, other than the Daytona 500, since Atlanta in 2017.

What was interesting is the top five markets for viewership.

Greensboro and Charlotte in North Carolina were one and two, followed by Indianapolis, Nashville, Tennessee, and Jacksonville, Florida.

Four of the markets were in the South and Southeast, and the fifth was Indianapolis, where fans are anxiously awaiting the start of live racing.

Right now NASCAR has eight more Cup races scheduled through June 21, all in the south.

Pocono Raceway is scheduled for a doubleheader June 27 and June 28, and the governor of Pennsylvania has indicated the races can take place with no fans.

With NASCAR canceling races in Illinois, Michigan, Kansas and California, officials have to be concerned that instead of remaining a national sport, it will return to its regional roots in the south.

I can’t imagine Roger Penske and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway are overly excited about hosting two NASCAR races and an IndyCar event on July 4 weekend with no fans in the stands.

IndyCar is set to resume action June 6 at Texas Motor Speedway, probably with the ability to have fans in attendance.

USAC announced that Indiana Midget Week is set for the week of June 16 through June 21 with a limited number of fans in attendance.

The Midgets will be at Gas City Speedway on June 17 and Kokomo Speedway on June 21.

USAC Sprint Cars will be at Tri-City Speedway in southern Indiana on June 14 with fans able to be in attendance.

Anderson Speedway will host the Champion Racing Association Super Series for super late models June 20 sponsored by Mitch Smith Automotive and Perfecto. It will be a 125-lap event.

The local track is hoping to open June 6 with CRA Sportsman Late Models, Kenyon Midgets and three local divisions.

Follow Ken de la Bastide

on Twitter @KendelaBastide,

or call 765-640-4863.

Senior Reporter covering Anderson and Madison County government, politics and auto racing for The Herald Bulletin. Has been working as a journalist in central Indiana since 1977.

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