Update: NASCAR did end up winning the ratings battle with the Indy 500. The Coca Cola 600 drew a 4.7 final rating (up 7% from the 4.4 overnight) while the Indy 500 finished with a 4.5 (down 12% from the 5.1 overnight).
So much for being an objective success. What the second article references is troubling. Middle, rural America might be permanently lost to NASCAR. Is it, in short, already too late? Or, less hysterically, doesn't it simply take TIME to rebuild. Patience is a much-needed virtue.