At this year’s Daytona 500, there were two things that blew up: The jet dryer that was inadvertently struck by Juan Pablo Montoya and Brad Keselowski’s iPhone. Oddly enough, the two incidents were connected.
While the emergency crews were tending to an engulfed vehicle and track workers were trying to salvage the track surface, Keselowski found it to be an opportune time to share his view with the fans. That’s when his phone caught fire.
Joey Meier, the spotter for the No. 2 Dodge, told us that Brad’s followers were increasing at an unbelievable rate. We all logged on to see the results, which yielded 3,000 new followers with every “refresh” for a total of nearly 200,000 in just a few hours.
That got a few people's attention – in particular NASCAR.
Shortly thereafter, Twitter became the be-all for NASCAR up-to-the-minutes news, notes and opinions for a fans, as well as media and insiders. For me, Twitter evolved from being a novelty to a necessity. I don’t go directly to websites for news and rumors; I utilize the links provided in a particular tweet, which ultimately takes me to the story. No sifting through pages anymore; just a flip of the thumb, and I browse for whatever I’m interested in.
Just a little over five weeks ago at Pocono Raceway, Twitter and NASCAR launched their alliance, titled “hashtagNASCAR” (https://twitter.com/hashtag/nascar) and, by most accounts, it appears to be going very well for both parties. You can choose to follow the official page or just seach #nascar on your computer or phone and follow along.
THE GOOD: Twitter has given fans some unprecedented access to the drivers and notables of the sport. It’s proven to be a showcase of everything from cuisine choices and family time, to a deeper look into their personalities, opinions and sense of humor. You can’t get that close on a website or even TV.
Teams with a large following utilize those metrics to leverage sponsorship interest and activation. The sponsors use it to attract their audience, and drivers can use it as a means to promote personal or team sponsors.
While Twitter may be fun and informative, it’s also become a very powerful tool or resource. It’s literally changed the way the NASCAR world gets information.
You want more good news? Twitter recently achieved the 500-million-user mark, and estimates that it will continue a steady growth of about 100 million users every quarter. That’s a lot of eyballs.
THE BAD: A tweet lives forever. Well not exactly, but almost.
If you’ve got a large following and you tweet something you wish you hadn’t, the masses see it in an instant. RT’s (re-tweets) are usually inevitable so your message spreads even quicker and the number of users who view it is nearly unstoppable. Sure, you can go in and delete it, but it’s usually too late – everyone’s pretty much seen it. An apology or explanation is already too late. I’ve done it myself.
All in all, the way of NASCAR fans across the U.S. and countries like Brazil has changed for the better. The latest-greatest “fad” has become a mainstay for the way we communicate information in no-time-flat.
It didn’t come too early and it didn’t come late. It was right on time.
PS — The topic of this article was suggested by Brianne Burrowes of Phoenix, Ariz. (https://twitter.com/brianneburrowes)
Mike Calinoff is the Spotter for NASCAR Champions Matt Kenseth (NSCS), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (NNS) and driver Nelson Piquet Jr. (NCWTS). A 20-year veteran of the sport, Calinoff owns @140BUZZ, a social media and branding company. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and at Twitter.com/Mike Calinoff. The opinions reflected herein are solely those of Mike Calinoff and do not necessarily reflect those of SPEED.com, Roush Fenway Racing, Ford or relative race team sponsors.