[media-credit name=”twitter.com” align=”alignright” width=”150″][/media-credit]Last week during the red flag at Daytona International Speedway, Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) tweeted a picture from inside his racecar. He then continued to send out more twitter messages, better known as tweets, and pictures to keep the fans informed. The result was Keselowski’s following increasing by 100,000 followers in the span of two hours. They were enjoying that he was keeping them informed and amused during a long red flag.
NASCAR wasn’t pleased with Keselowski having the phone, originally, as they said that they do not allow recording devices or other devices for communication. However, they did not penalize him for the usage. They said in a statement that they would not penalize Keselowski as nothing “violates any current rules pertaining to the use of social media during races……We encourage our drivers to use social media to express themselves as long as they do so without risking their safety or that of others.”
Twitter and NASCAR combined as worked wonders beyond just what happened in Daytona as the NASCAR fan base on twitter continues to grow.
Mathew Vance (@48Hollywood) says he enjoys twitter because of “the insight. And feel of accessibility. Plus the contests are absolutely amazing for fans, especially those who may not be able to travel to races as much as others. Also, the ability to build rapport with people is crucial.”
Many NASCAR fans are joining twitter so they can follow their favorite teams, drivers and the drivers’ significant others. Some fans are joining to take part in the giveaways, which could see them win tickets to a race, a t-shirt, a hat or something else someone is giving away.
Denny Hamlin (@dennyhamlin) has created a tradition of doing a big giveaway on Christmas. The giveaway sees the winner to win a vacation for a family of four to any place they want to go in the US. Hamlin does more giveaways beyond that as each week, he gives away “Denny Seats” which is four tickets to each race.
Another big part of fan usage on twitter is the fans are interested in what’s going on with their favorite drivers. Many drivers tweet about what they are doing away from the race track, to therefore keep the fans informed and make them feel a part of their personal life.
Amy Stabler (@HarpAmyStabler) says she’s on twitter as she likes to be able to connect to the different NASCAR personalities and get them to answer her questions. Drivers will spend time answering questions about a variety of subjects, allowing fans to learn something new. Mark Martin (@markmartin55), who just joined twitter, spends a couple hours each day answering questions.
Vance had a great experience with Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) as he says his favorite twitter is moment is, “Jimmie telling me to find him at the track for a pic, then remembering me when I did, and gratefully doing a pic and auto.”
The NASCAR fan interaction goes beyond just the drivers as many fans enjoy following their favorite driver’s spotter. Mike Calinoff (@MikeCalinoff), spotter for Matt Kenseth, and Bob Jeffery (@EyeInTheSky14), spotter for Tony Stewart, are two of the many spotters who have joined twitter. Both spend their time answering the questions for the fans.
All of this allows the fans to have a connection, as Ford Malone (@FordMalone) says. “We have a connection – access – to the movers and shakers that did not exist in the past. Few fans had this level of connection.” Malone says that he enjoys following Eddie Gossage (@eddiegossage), the President of Texas Motor Speedway, Ted Bullard (@TurnerCMO), the Chief Marketing Officer of Turner Motorsports, Jeff Gordon (@JeffGordonWeb) and more.
For that sake of connection, Stabler tries to follow as many different drivers and girlfriends as she can, while also following a bunch of media. She also feels that some of the people that she follows and those who follow back feel like friends.
Malone adds to that by saying he enjoys twitter due the “inner action between fans has never been as wide spread. I can connect with fans from all across the country.” Malone says that twitter has allowed him to find more people to talk about racing with. “Before twitter, I lived in a NASCAR monocosm – a small number of friends that held similar beliefs. Now I live in a NASCAR galaxy and have had a temper my rhetoric because I have NASCAR friends that hold widely different views.”
For that reason, “tweet-ups” have been brought forth at each track. These “tweet-ups” see an array of fans and media members that are on twitter meet up at an arranged spot to meet each other face-to-face. Sometimes when these tweet-ups are arranged, they include special guests as some drivers and spotters show up.
In tough economic times, twitter is also a way for drivers to connect with fans and promote their sponsors. Sometimes, it can also work in other fashion for sponsor. Both Todd Bodine (@Team_Onion) and Kenny Wallce (@Kenny_Wallace) are looking for sponsors to continue racing this year. To help the search, fans have tagged tweets with “#sponsorkenny” or #sponsortheonion” to try to spread word for their favorite driver. They have also tweeted big companies, recommending the driver of their choice.
Beyond these reasons, twitter has also brought an even crazier trend – inanimate objects tweet. Supposedly the cone that sits at the end of pit road and the lug nut on a tire have discovered a way to use twitter. They use twitter to talk candidly with people about their “experience” and more. Here’s a list of some of the objects
- @DaCautionFlag / @FlagCaution
With everything that has happened on twitter, there is only one question that fans are asking – when is Dale Earnhardt Jr. going to join twitter?
You can follow me on twitter via @SS_Informative (professional, nascar news) and @ladybug388 (personal).