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« Multiple cars on track in qualifying is best for all involved | Main | Pocono’s backstretch should be fined for actions detrimental to the sport »

Doesn’t NASCAR have more important things to do than monitor twitter?

By admin | August 1, 2010


By Richard Allen

NASCAR is doing great. The grandstands are filled to capacity every week. Television ratings are off the charts. The competition is better than it ever has been with no need for intervention by the sanctioning body.

OK. Hopefully the NASCAR media and social networking monitors stopped reading after the first paragraph.

Seriously, the reports last week that NASCAR has secretly fined a couple of star drivers was troubling. It was troubling not because of the fine or even the reason for the fine. Every sport punishes competitors for actions detrimental to the sport. The part about these NASCAR sanctions that was most troubling was that they were done in secret. It was almost as if by not allowing drivers to discuss the sport’s troubles one would actually realize the sport has issues.

But later revelations have taken the folly of the recent NASCAR penalties to a new level. Supposedly, driver Denny Hamlin was issued a sanction for something he wrote on the social networking site, twitter.

Does that really mean NASCAR has someone monitoring twitter, Facebook and MySpace? If so, that is a sad indictment against those in power. It smacks of the type of rule displayed in absolute monarchies and dictatorships.

The reason this piece began with such an outlandish paragraph is…well, it was outlandish. NASCAR is the opposite of everything in that paragraph. But instead of focusing on the problems at hand, those at the head of the sport have chosen to spend their time reading twitter posts to make sure no driver posts anything giving fans even the slightest inkling that things are not going as well as could be.

Unfortunately, it is a bit too late for that. The empty grandstands, low television ratings and general lack of interest would seem to indicate many have figured out there are some problems already. Issuing fines for mentioning things everyone else is well aware of in the hopes of keeping people from finding out shows just how out of touch the sport’s leadership is.

Again, fining those inside the sport for actions detrimental to the sport is not the problem. The problem is that NASCAR is aware that there are issues with their sport but their actions indicate they think we are not aware of those issues.

I would think NASCAR officials have more important things to do than sitting around monitoring social networking sites or reading blogs, unless of course, they are using the discussion there to work on their sport.

Follow @RacingWithRich on twitter.

Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly columns appear in The Mountain Press and The Knoxville Journal.

Topics: Articles |

7 Responses to “Doesn’t NASCAR have more important things to do than monitor twitter?”

  1. JerseyGirl Says:
    August 2nd, 2010 at 8:09 am

    Rich, not just twitter posts, but from the sounds of it they were also able to access DIRECT messages between Hamlin and others. I suppose that isn’t an invasion of privacy, but if, as NASCAR maintains, the drivers are independent contractors, not employees, IMO they stepped over the line by accessing that information.

    As you said, don’t they have anything better to do than act like the KGB? I certainly thing there are a lot of things they should be concerned about — like the lackluster TV ratings - how about talking with the TV partners to improve the way they broadcast a race so that fans tuning in would enjoy it? Then those fans might say, gee, I’d like to see this in person.

    But according to Brian France’s statement at Indy — “he’s not concerned”. That’s probably because he was too busy reading Denny Hamlin’s tweets.

    And NASCAR wonders why people aren’t interested any more?

  2. DMan Says:
    August 2nd, 2010 at 11:05 am

    Rich-
    Nice article, I agree with you 100%. But hopefully you aren’t just coming to the realization that Faux King Brian secretly dreams of becoming the next Hugo Chavez? Big Bill France is spinning in his grave over the current state of NA$CAR. But seriously though, who the does NA$CAR think they are that they can trod all over the constitution? If I was Hamlin or Newman I’d be having my attorney file a lawsuit against NA$CAR for violating my inalienable, God-given constitutional rights…consequences be damned.

  3. J.J. Says:
    August 2nd, 2010 at 11:14 am

    One has to wonder if Nascar really thinks that one or two or three or four drivers “badmouthing” the sport really influences the fans coming to the races or watching on TV…

    Nascar may be all powerful (or at least they like to think so), but what a driver says or doesn’t say, either positively or negatively, does not influence me to watch a race–and I bet I’m not alone in this opinion. Maybe Nascar should realize that: 1. they very likely have saturated the marketplace by having 24/7 of everything they do, 2. have a season the seems to go on forever, and 3. that the cars all look alike and the drivers are too vanilla and the events are often just too damn long in race distance.

  4. J.J. Says:
    August 2nd, 2010 at 11:15 am

    One has to wonder if Nascar really thinks that one or two or three or four drivers “badmouthing” the sport really influences the fans coming to the races or watching on TV…

    Nascar may be all powerful (or at least they like to think so), but what a driver says or doesn’t say, either positively or negatively, does not influence me to watch a race–and I bet I’m not alone in this opinion.

    Maybe Nascar should realize that: 1. they very likely have saturated the marketplace by having 24/7 coverage of everything they do, 2. have a season the seems to go on forever, and 3. that the cars all look alike and the drivers are too vanilla and the events are often just too damn long in race distance.

  5. X-Na$car fan Says:
    August 2nd, 2010 at 11:39 am

    You are so right - the Ivory Tower gang can’t handle the truth or think we are too supid to figure it out. I don’t understand the point of a secret $50K fine to these guys - that’s pocket change for them. Wouldn’t a stern talking to have served the same purpose?

  6. SkoalBandit33 Says:
    August 2nd, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    @Dman,

    This has nothing to do with the constitution, as those rights are there only to protect your right of free speech from being infringed upon by the *Government*, be it local, state, or federal.

    Not anyone else, or any company, corporation, etc.

    The first amendment prohibits the making of any law infringing on the freedom of speech.

    NASCAR doesn’t pass laws in our country, and thank God for that!! ROFL LOL

    Just like with Glen Beck’s comments and the subsequent boycott against him in response, and the voiceover dude from the Geico commercials and the subsequent boycott against him, NEITHER had their constitutional rights infringed upon either.

    If I tell my boss I just did his wife, and he fires me, he hasn’t infringed upon my freedom of speech ;)

  7. Richard in N.C. Says:
    August 6th, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    I bet EESPN and other media outfits have people monitoring the Tweets and blogs that the public can identify with its employees.

    If fans don’t pay attention to what drivers say, there sure are a lot of marketing people wasting an awful lot of money paying drivers to represent their products.

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