On Twitter, INDYCAR’s miss becomes NASCAR’s hit

IndyCar, IndyCar commentary — By on February 29, 2012 2:05 pm
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So, Brad Keselowski tweets a few times during the red flag period of Monday night’s Daytona 500, and major news outlets across America fall over themselves declaring NASCAR’s brilliance in embracing social media.

Meanwhile, INDYCAR and its teams have been using social media for more than two years.  About 95% of INDYCAR’s drivers have Twitter accounts and use them regularly.  And social media advocates within the sport have been screaming out about the unharnessed potential Twitter holds to expand and engage the fan base.

And what has INDYCAR gotten out of Twitter?  Certainly not the above-the-fold headlines that NASCAR has enjoyed for the past couple of days.

Social media isn’t the first subject on which INDYCAR has allowed itself to be largely ignored.

For example, INDYCAR had Danica for six years and only just barely managed to scrape her into household name status — and the people who knew her name weren’t always aware that she was an INDYCAR driver.  Meanwhile, she’s driven in exactly one Sprint Cup race, and INDYCAR has already been taken to school on how to leverage a driver’s promotional potential.

And after Danica’s huge shunt in the Nationwide race last weekend, what did she tweet?  That she needs to thank NASCAR for the SAFER barrier that spared her from more serious injury.  She needs to thank NASCAR!  How quickly she’s forgotten that the SAFER barrier originated as an INDYCAR innovation.  Convenient, that.

These are harsh words, but they need to be said:  It’s high time someone at 16th and Georgetown took a look at these issues and started asking some hard questions.  Why does INDYCAR continually get walked all over by NASCAR in the mainstream media?  Why does INDYCAR allow this to happen?  And most importantly, when are we finally going to admit that we’ve been going about this the wrong way all along and do what needs to be done to fix it?

The majority of people reading these words will happily declare that INDYCAR is a superior sporting product to NASCAR, particularly with the exciting changes on the horizon for this season.  But if INDYCAR doesn’t very quickly start learning how to throw the gauntlet and do these things right, no one outside the current fan base will ever know.

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