NEW YORK - The NBC Sports Network said Tuesday it had strong ratings for its season-opening IndyCar race, with 388,000 viewers who amounted to a 78 percent increase over last year's debut race on the cable channel.

The race Sunday afternoon in St. Petersburg, Fla., earned a .26 rating, up 53 percent from last year, when NBCSN's first telecast of the IndyCar season was the second event of the year. Last year, 218,000 people watched the event at Barber Motorsports Park.

The race, won by James Hinchcliffe, was the second-best season-opener for NBCSN since it acquired IndyCar rights in 2009.

Associated Press