Tag Archives: Twitter

Announcing My Favorite NASCAR Driver

17 Nov

So, I’m curious: how do most NASCAR fans pick their favorite driver?

I did some brainstorming and came up with the following list of reasons people support certain athletes or teams (and – let’s be honest – political candidates as well).

(How many of these factors did you you take into consideration when you picked your favorite driver?)

2012 Chase for the Sprint Cup drivers

Do you support someone…

  • from the same state or town as you?
  • who wins a lot? (Jimmie Johnson)
  • who has won a lot? (Jeff Gordon)
  • with family history? (Dale “Earnhardt,” Jr.)
  • who breaks the mold? (“Danica“)
  • with a cool paint scheme?
  • who is “good-looking”? (“Danica“)
  • who shares your beliefs/views/opinions?
  • whose car number is your favorite number?
  • who is similar to you in age?
  • whose car sponsor you support?
  • who is outspoken/unapologetic/rude?
  • who is honest/reflective/intelligent?

More than one of the above?  Or something else entirely?

Below, I’ll tell you how I picked my favorite NASCAR driver, and it involves several of the above.

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I’ve been following the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series since the season started back in February.  I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but somewhere over the summer (mid-season), I settled on my favorite driver.

(If you’ve been following my Twitter feed – @NASCARneophyte – over the last few months, you may have guessed my favorite driver based on a lot of my tweets and re-tweets).

So that I’m not accused of picking the guy that may win the Sprint Cup Series Championship this season, I wanted to get this in writing before he wins his first Cup Series title, whether that’s tomorrow or years down the road.

That’s right, you guessed it: Brad Keselowski has become my favorite driver.

Bad Brad, driver of the Blue Deuce: the #2 Miller Lite Dodge.

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If I had to summarize my reason for that in one word, it would be: Twitter.

As a young adult myself who is always “plugged in,” Twitter is a pretty big part of my day, and Brad makes Twitter fun and informative.

It started at the Daytona 500 with “the tweet:”

(Here’s that picture):

Keselowski’s tweet from inside his car while stopped on the track at the Daytona 500.

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That night, I became one of the thousands of people who followed Bad Brad on Twitter for the first time, and I’ve been following him ever since.

Number of Twitter followers gained by Keselowski over a two-hour span during the Daytona 500.

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Over the last ~10 months, I’ve enjoyed Brad’s insight into what it’s like to be a NASCAR driver (celebrity, even?).  From the victory lane photos, to the room full of items waiting to be autographed, Brad’s Twitter feed is a great behind-the-scenes look at the NASCAR world:

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I like Brad because he answers more fan questions than any other driver I follow, and he tends to avoid sarcasm, which several other drivers seem to use a lot (*cough,* *cough,* Kevin Harvick!).

Brad is definitely opinionated and sticks up for his beliefs (both on Twitter and in his media interviews), but he doesn’t come across as an ***hole (*cough,* *cough,* Kyle/Kurt Busch!).

I’ve learned a lot during my first year watching NASCAR, and much of that has come from Brad.  His tweets range from:

  • the funny:
  • to the informative:
  • to the opinionated:
  • to the behind-the-scenes variety:

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Looking at some of the other reasons I listed above for why fans support certain drivers, I’ll comment on a few other things…

  • Brad’s main sponsor is Miller Lite, which I drink (mainly because Eat This Not That lists Miller Lite as one of their best beers in America), but not very often, because it tastes like water (let’s be honest)…
  • One of Brad’s sponsors is Adidas, which happens to be my favorite athletic wear company…
  • Brad won consistently this year, winning 5 races (so far)…
  • Brad’s car is blue, which is my favorite color…
  • Brad is 28.  I’m several years behind him, but same generation…

So did any of these factors influence my decision to support BK?  I don’t think they did, consciously, but perhaps subconsciously they did influence my decision…

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No matter how this season ends for Brad, and whether I continue to follow NASCAR after this season or not, I will definitely continue to follow Brad on Twitter and cheer for him as my favorite driver going forward.

Brad celebrates a victory with the traditional post-race burnout.

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The Most Popular* Driver In NASCAR Is…

9 Jun

* Admittedly, Twitter isn’t the be-all, end-all of popularity contests, but it’s a pretty good indication of how popular (or influential) an athlete or celebrity is, based on their number of followers.

With that caveat in mind, here is the list of the Top 30 Most-Followed NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers on Twitter:

Car # Driver Followers Twitter Handle
10 Danica Patrick 601,119 @DanicaPatrick
42 Juan Montoya 553,457 @jpmontoya
2 Brad Keselowski 267,074 @keselowski
48 Jimmie Johnson 237,856 @JimmieJohnson
29 Kevin Harvick 219,981 @KevinHarvick
24 Jeff Gordon 212,654 @JeffGordonWeb
5 Kasey Kahne 186,723 @kaseykahne
18 Kyle Busch 186,099 @KyleBusch
55 Michael Waltrip 162,150 @mw55
11 Denny Hamlin 148,580 @dennyhamlin
21 Trevor Bayne 126,872 @Tbayne21
88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 126,829 @DaleJr
109 Kenny Wallace 105,201 @Kenny_Wallace
33 Elliott Sadler 100,445 @Elliott_Sadler
17 Matt Kenseth 99,834 @mattkenseth
39 Ryan Newman 99,437 @RyanNewman39
14 Tony Stewart 99,220 @tonystewart
1 Jamie McMurray 96,965 @jamiemcmurray
56 Martin Truex Jr. 83,026 @MartinTruexJr56
55 Mark Martin 79,204 @55MarkMartin
16 Greg Biffle 77,833 @gbiffle
20 Joey Logano 77,366 @joeylogano
47 Bobby Labonte 63,573 @Bobby_Labonte
22 AJ Allmendinger 62,317 @AJDinger
55 Brian Vickers 57,647 @BrianLVickers
31 Jeff Burton 54,211 @RCR31JeffBurton
7 Robby Gordon 49,377 @RobbyGordon
34 David Ragan 43,353 @DavidRagan
78 Regan Smith 41,667 @Regan_Smith_
33 Hermie Sadler 40,646 @HermieSadler
Notes: Number of followers recorded ~ 12:00 EDT on 6/9/12… List of drivers taken from http://www.nascar.com/drivers/list/cup/dps/ (“Driver Table” tab)… Not all Twitter handles listed above have been “verified” by Twitter…

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Let’s delve into these numbers a little bit.

Danica Patrick leads the list, which shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, considering she recently made the cover of ESPN Magazine’s Women in Sports issue.  She’s in those pesky Go Daddy commercials on TV, and has posed for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Collection (twice).  Danica Patrick is not a driver, she’s a brand.  If it comes as a shock that she has more followers than any other NASCAR driver, you probably live under a rock.

Next is Juan Pablo Montoya.  He hasn’t had a great deal of success in the Sprint Cup Series so far (and is currently 20th in the standings), so I’m assuming his popularity is based on the fact that he used to drive in Formula One and had some success there.  He probably gets a boost in followers due to the fact that he’s Colombian and bi-lingual (he frequently tweets in Spanish).  As an sports figure with global appeal, this isn’t a huge surprise either.

Third on the list is Brad Keselowski.  Keselowski certainly got a boost in followers when he tweeted this at the Daytona 500 in February:

During the two-hour red flag, with the field stopped dead on the track, Keselowski gained 100,000 followers (going from 85,000 to 185,000).  Due to his strong performances this year, and frequent interactions with fans on Twitter, Keselowski now has more followers than five-time Cup series champion, Jimmie Johnson.

Considering his high level of success in NASCAR (and his overall likeability), I would have expected Jimmie Johnson to have more than ~237,000 followers (by comparison, Lebron James has over 4.7 million followers).  Johnson is a member of Team Hendrick (which has been called the “New York Yankees of NASCAR”) and is a lock for the NASCAR Hall of Fame.  Maybe the (comparatively) low follower count for Johnson is an indication of the total number of NASCAR fans on Twitter.

Kevin Harvick rounds out the Top 5, which surprised me only because I expected four-time Cup series champion Jeff Gordon to be closer to the top of this list, (although Harvick only has 7,000 more followers than Gordon).

Some final comments:

The @DaleJr Twitter account has not sent a single tweet, yet it is the 12th most-followed driver account in NASCAR.  Can you imagine if he actually tweeted from the account?  Ditto for the @tonystewart account, which has sent just one tweet (a PR one), yet has almost 100,000 followers.

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I think I’ll revisit this list at the end of the season and see which drivers have gained or lost the most followers since this point in the season.  It will be interesting to see whether winning races gives drivers a boost in followers from week to week.

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NASCAR’s Equivalent Of CliffsNotes

15 May

If you’re a NASCAR fan and you don’t follow the official @NASCAR Twitter account, I completely understand; they tweet a LOT.

Pictures, videos, news articles, driver press conference schedules… you name it, they tweet it. And they don’t just cover the Sprint Cup Series, but the Nationwide Series and the Camping World Truck Series as well.

Leave Twitter for a few hours on race day, and you could easily come back to 50+ tweets from @NASCAR on your timeline.

Having said that, I’m sure you’ll excuse me if I don’t read every tweet or click every link posted by @NASCAR. (I’ve learned to skip past most of them).

On Monday, however, as I scrolled through my timeline on Twitter (@NASCARneophyte), I noticed a tweet that piqued my interest (see below).

As it turns out, after every race, the folks at www.nascar.com come up with a highlight video called “Race Rewind” that cuts down the ~3 hour marathon race into ~15 intense minutes of racing highlights.

They hit all the key race moments, without any of the boring fluff.

In high school English class terms, the Race Rewind is the equivalent of CliffsNotes.

(Where has this been all my NASCAR-following life?!?)

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Below is the tweet that introduced me to the Race Rewind. It links directly to the 15-minute recap of the Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington (and yes, if you were wondering, I did watch the whole video).

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Less useful for my purposes is the “Weekend Top 5” segment, which recaps the Top 5 NASCAR moments from each weekend’s races.

(From what I can tell, it includes Nationwide AND Sprint Cup Series moments, although I’m not sure if the Truck Series is also included occasionally).

Below is the @NASCAR tweet that links directly to the Weekend Top 5 for Darlington.

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I know one thing for sure. If I have to miss another race in the future, I’ll just check out the Race Rewind afterward and get all the highlights I need without any moments I don’t.

I have to hand it to NASCAR; they did a great job with this video series. I’ll be sure to watch the next one, too!

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Race Recap: Bojangles’ Southern 500

15 May

On Saturday night in Darlington, Jimmie Johnson won his first NASCAR race of the season (and the first for Team Hendrick this year).

The win also happened to be Rick Hendrick‘s 200th career victory as an owner in the Sprint Cup Series.

Johnson (right) hoists the trophy with crew chief Chad Knaus in victory lane after the race.

Some other notes from the race in case you missed it:

  • Danica Patrick raced with the big boys again(!) …but she finished 31st. Meh…
  • Jeff Gordon‘s miserable season continued, as he cut a tire on two separate occasions, eventually went to the garage, and then finished 35th. On team radio after his second flat tire, he didn’t even sound upset. At this point, it seems like he’s used to the bad luck…
  • Apparently there was some post-race drama on pit road involving Kurt Busch which earned him a pretty hefty fine. (I’m sure he’ll appeal the decision and, knowing NASCAR, they’ll probably reverse it. Or maybe not, since his name isn’t Jimmie Johnson… zing!).

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As always, I picked up some new NASCAR knowledge last week thanks to Twitter. Here’s a summary:

  • Darlington is a difficult track to race on because it’s fast and narrow:
  • NASCAR Nationwide Series cars are pretty different from Sprint Cup Series cars, so Cup drivers can’t learn much from watching the Nationwide races held at the same track:

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Here’s a question that came up last week. If you can answer it, help me out in the comments section below or tweet @NASCARneophyte.

1. Why is Darlington called “The Lady In Black” and “Too Tough To Tame“?

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Race Recap: Aaron’s 499

6 May

Talladega Superspeedway promises high speeds and therefore the possibility of huge wrecks. It’s a must-watch race on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series circuit.

In Sunday’s Aaron’s 499, there were plenty of lead changes, as drivers repeatedly went from 1st place to the back of the pack (slowing down and avoiding traffic when their engines ran too hot), and then right back to the front soon after.

After wrecks knocked several big names out of the race, social media wizard Brad Keselowski outwitted, outlasted, and outplayed the rest of the field to take the checkered flag at Talladega. Here is the strange trophy he won:

“Hey Mom, check out this cool trophy of a guy holding a trophy that I won!”

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In case you (somehow) missed it ahead of the race, Kurt Busch didn’t have a sponsor this week, so he had his car painted like Ricky Bobby‘s car in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.

Here’s a picture of his #51 car:

Kurt Busch: “I Wanna Go Fast!”

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Here’s a bit of new NASCAR knowledge I picked up during the race, thanks to the announcers on FOX and some folks on Twitter:

  • The part of Matt Kenseth‘s car that holds the window net in place broke and almost came off during the race. According to the announcers, if the window net comes off, the driver is required to pit immediately.

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Some questions also came up as I was watched today’s race. If you can answer them, help me out in the comments section below or tweet @NASCARneophyte.

1. Are there more lead changes during races at the larger tracks? (Today it seemed like there were more than there were at Richmond, for example, and Richmond has a lot more laps).

2. Are there stoplights at every NASCAR track? (If so, I’m surprised I just noticed them today).

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If you’re already looking ahead, the Sprint Cup Series will move to Darlington, South Carolina next weekend for the Bojangles’ Southern 500.

Race Preview: Aaron’s 499

5 May

There were two hot topics on Twitter ahead of this weekend’s Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega: (1) Kurt Busch’s paint job, and (2) jorts:

It took some effort, but Kurt Busch was finally given permission to use Ricky Bobby’s paint scheme.

Jimmie Johnson says NO to jorts. (You should too).

The Aaron’s 499 is race #10 (out of 36) on the Sprint Cup circuit. The race will take place at Talladega Superspeedway, which is the largest track on the NASCAR schedule, at 2.66 miles around.

Race coverage tomorrow starts at 12:00 PM EDT on FOX. (The race itself starts at 1:19 PM EDT).

Below the logo, find everything you need to prepare for tomorrow’s race.

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NASCAR Sprint Cup Series – Aaron’s 499

  • Location: Talladega, Alabama
  • Track name: Talladega Superspeedway
  • Track shape: Tri-oval
  • Banking: 33 degrees
  • Lap length: 2.66 miles
  • Race distance: 188 laps / 500 miles

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I’ll be tweeting my comments and questions about NASCAR during the race from my Twitter account: @NASCARneophyte. If you can answer my questions, please do.

Enjoy the race everyone. (I’ll be cheering for Ricky Bobby).

Race Recap: STP 400

22 Apr

After 267 laps and ~400 miles of racing today, Denny Hamlin came away with his second victory of the season, helping him move from sixth place to fifth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings.

I was at this game earlier, so I wasn’t able to watch today’s STP 400 at Kansas. Since I’m one of the last people on Earth without DVR, I wasn’t able to record it either.

With all that said, I was able to follow the race on Twitter, which of course had its pros and cons (see below).

 

"I love Coke. Coke is the best. I drink Coke, and you should too!"

Here are a few notes about the race:

  • It is immensely difficult to decipher @NASCAR‘s tweets during a race if you don’t know each driver’s number (which, for the most part, I don’t). Here is an example:

(Of those listed above, the only one I knew off the top of my head was #48 – Jimmie Johnson).

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  • The trophy awarded at Kansas (below) is nowhere near as cool as the trophy awarded at Texas.

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  • After the race, Brad Keselowski jumped in a tank and helped blow up the Kansas Speedway ahead of the track re-paving… or something:

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  • I caught some of the pre-race show on FOX today, during which Michael Waltrip and D.W. were talking about the lack of controversy so far this year:

There haven’t been any fights between drivers yet (which I’ve been hoping for each week, to no avail), so to this point you’d have to say that the most “controversial” moment of the season was the finish at Martinsville.

D.W. quoted one driver who said that he didn’t want to cause any bad publicity for his team. I completely understand that mentality, but it’s been all puppy dogs and rainbows lately, and it’s getting a little boring.

Come on guys, step up the entertainment! If you don’t want to get into a shoving match with another driver after the race, blow up some more jet dryers or something. Please!

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By the way, next weekend I’ll be going to my first live NASCAR race. Actually, it will be my first live racing event of any kind, at any level.

After the race (in Richmond), I will blog about my experience here, complete with pictures and all.

Five days to go until race day… I can’t wait!