The ballad of Brad Keselowski, Nascar’s Twitter sensation

Brad Keselowski is the Chad Ochocinco of Nascar racing, using Twitter to take the idea of in-game reporting to new heights.

Stopped on the track after a near-disastrous crash between driver Juan Pablo Montoya and a safety vehicle with 40 laps to go in lMonday night’s Daytona 500, Keselowski did what Ochocinco and every American with a smart phone would have done in that situation: He tweeted a picture of the accident that was holding him up in traffic.

“Fire!” he posted just before 10pm EST. “My view http://pic.twitter.com/RWn3xMn6.”

The brief tweet was retweeted 4,743 times. Before the two-hour delay was over, Keselowski had gained over 100,000 Twitter followers, bringing his total follower count to 206,636. It was the social media equivalent of going from zero to 60 mph in less than four seconds.

Much of the increase in followers can be attributed to the tweeting Keselowski did after his initial tweet. Stopped still and with little to do, Keselowski took the opportunity to talk with fans about the race—and even address a few questions about why he had a phone in his car in the first place.

In all, Keselowski retweeted 10 race updates and posted 28 responses to fans, media members, and racing insiders, including Nascar marketing man Zane Stoddard, who kindly reminded Keselowski to keep his eyes on the road with the question “BK – Where’s that phone go when we’re green?”

Keselowski’s intelligent response: “My pocket”.

The decision to tweet proved marketing gold for Keselowski, who, for nearly two hours, was the most entertaining component of the strange night of racing. A message Keselowski retweeted from fan Jessica Lynn Burkett summed the night up perfectly:

“So we have a Monday night #NascarPrimetime#daytona500 race, jet dryer blow up and @keselowski tweeting from his car….#AWESOMENESS!!!”

At 11:46pm EST, just before getting back out on the road, Keselowski thanked his fans for the support and newfound Twitter fame: “Best fans in the world!” 

Chase Hoffberger

Chase Hoffberger

Chase Hoffberger reported on YouTube, web culture, and crime for the Daily Dot until 2013, when he joined the Austin Chronicle. Until late 2018, he served as that paper’s news editor and reported on criminal justice and politics.