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Social media a boon to F1, NASCAR — but IndyCar lags

Jun 19, 2013, 2:28 PM EDT

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NASCAR and Formula One have embraced social media. But IndyCar is struggling to keep up with its motorsports counterparts.

In a Wednesday story on IBJ.com, Indianapolis Business Journal sports reporter Anthony Schoettle gives a social media breakdown that shows IndyCar is trailing in the Twitter world.

“In terms of Twitter followers, NASCAR is king, with more than 1.1 million as of Tuesday morning. Formula One’s official Twitter account has a tick under 538,000. The IndyCar Series has just short of 92,000. Formula One has built its large following with just over 5,000 tweets, compared with the IndyCar Series’ 21,700. NASCAR has more than 37,000.”

That lack of social media prowess may also play a role in IndyCar being somewhat stagnant when it comes to attracting new fans — and more importantly, new sponsors and their fat wallets, Schoettle writes.

“IndyCar Series executives have their hands full trying to bolster the all-important live attendance and television viewership numbers that drive sponsors to be a part of their series.

“But there’s another set of numbers to be concerned about, and it clearly has the attention of sponsors.

“Twice in the last month, I’ve gotten newsletters from prominent firms representing sports sponsors listing the social media following of the major auto racing series. The numbers don’t lie. And for IndyCar, the numbers aren’t particularly good.”

Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan has 606,000 Twitter followers, according to IBJ, many of them new followers after Kanaan won the world’s most famous race last month. But the numbers drop off dramatically afterward: Part-time IndyCar (and NASCAR part-timer) A.J. Allmendinger has over 109,000 followers (most likely from his full-time NASCAR days). Dario Franchitti is close to 100,000 followers and Helio Castroneves is just under 87,500.

As Schoettle noted, “The other top full-time IndyCar drivers have well below 75,000, and most are under 50,000.”

By comparison, two former IndyCar drivers lead the way: Danica Patrick (nearly 919,000 followers) and even Juan Pablo Montoya, who has struggled since transitioning from Formula One to NASCAR in 2007, has 745,000 followers.

And there lies an interesting irony. Even though both Patrick and Montoya have done little in their NASCAR careers to date, they still far outrank fellow series racers like five-time champion Jimmie Johnson (436,000 followers), four-time champ Jeff Gordon (nearly 419,000) and defending Sprint Cup champ Brad Keselowski (417,000).

Keselowski picked up more than 100,000 new followers in the span of just over one hour when the 2012 Daytona 500 was red-flagged after Montoya ran into the back of a track jet dryer, igniting a monstrous plume of flame that damaged the racing surface at Daytona International Speedway, requiring emergency repairs before the race could restart. During the down time, Keselowski tweeted away behind the wheel of his parked race car, and with some well-placed prodding by Fox Sports TV, fans signed up to follow Keselowski in record numbers.

But while Formula One the sanctioning body trails NASCAR in Twitter followers, that can’t be said about F1’s drivers. They blow the roof off: Fernando Alonso (1.7 million), Lewis Hamilton (1.6 millon) and Jenson Button (1.5 million).

  1. midtec2005 - Jun 19, 2013 at 2:58 PM

    Yet another example of Indycars completely incompetent managment. Hopefully Miles is smart enough to figure this stuff out.

  2. manik56 - Jun 19, 2013 at 3:35 PM

    Montoya did have a successful stop in F1 before he went to NASCAR. I think you just had a brain freeze.

  3. indycarseries500 - Jun 19, 2013 at 4:59 PM

    This is a stupid study. It doesn’t mean IndyCar is lagging behind in social media. NASCAR and Formula 1 should have a lot more followers as they are both many times more popular. Actually Formula 1 appears to be lacking in the social media department as they should easily have 5 times as many followers as NASCAR.

    • purplesectornet - Jun 26, 2013 at 10:48 AM

      dude you are one pathetic F1 hater, you know that? FOM has people on staff that spend all day asking youtube to take down copyrighted material – mostly video of races, which FOM very smartly protects. Obviously with only 5000 tweets from the FOM account and the fact that FOM is kind of unpopular with the fans since they enforce F1 copyrights; this account is not the real story. Take a look at the F1 journalists twitter accounts, Twitter basically BLOWS UP every F1 race which just goes to show that you don’t even have a single clue as to what you are talking about. Your assertion here is absolute and total nonsense, and once again simply reveals your pathetic agenda here. The Formula One brand totally and completely blows away IndyCar in every possible way. In fact, how the F1 brand is managed, frankly transcends all of motorsport and that includes NASCAR. The drivers have huge twitter followings…even the back markers. This is an article with an American slant…the bottom line is the F1 brand is one of the very top brands in all of sport, not just motorsport. So keep dreaming “indycarseries500″…you fit right in with IndyCar management of late…totally and hopelessly clueless about what the reality of the situation is…you know your response to this yet again shoes be how insular and in your own little world you IndyCar fans truly are…in your own little world hoping for something that just isn’t there….IndyCar is basically a giant malfunctioning corporation only a few quarters away from being sold off to a competitor, that is *exactly* how the organization is behaving…heads buried in the sand refusing to accept the reality of the situation they are in…and that attitude is reflected in it’s fans and it’s pom pom carrying cheerleader Robin Miller.

      • indycarseries500 - Jun 26, 2013 at 5:19 PM

        I have never said anything negative about Formula 1. you’re the pathetic one blindly hating IndyCar for no reason. I took this guy’s theory that IndyCar is lacking in the social media dept. because they have less followers, I said that’s dumb they have less followers because they have less fans and according to his theory F1 is the the one lacking because they should have more followers than NASCAR. I wasn’t talking about drivers or journalist the actually series twitter which I hope you can see should have more follwers than NASCAR and won’t pull some BS out just to argue.

        I love Formula 1, does it blow IndyCar away yes in most areas but not all. I don;t know what bubble you’re talking about the only person that seems insecure about Formula 1’s position in the motorsports world is you. I’ve never said IndyCar is this land of rainbows and ponies you claim I think it is. I’m so glad I don’t live in your negative world.

      • indycarseries500 - Jun 26, 2013 at 5:22 PM

        If my username was ‘FormulaOneMonza’ you’d agree with me 100% on my original post.

      • purplesectornet - Jun 27, 2013 at 1:25 PM

        Yeah no buddy, F1 is not lacking. The story is about IndyCar lacking. Get a clue, seriously…

  4. uplander99 - Jun 19, 2013 at 6:14 PM

    You mean to tell me F1 and NASCAR have more followers? Wow.

    I personally feel IndyCar has over saturated themselves on Twitter and could dial it back a little.

    And of course NASCAR was years behind IndyCar yet again but now claims they invented Twitter. Hashtag Shocking. Hashtag HANS Hashtag SAFER Barriers

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