Penske Racing sponsor Miller Lite will be pleased with driver Brad Keselowski’s Twitter reaction during a break in racing at the weekend’s Daytona 500.
After a Montoya collision, Keselowski posted messages on his Twitter account while he waited in his #2 Miller Lite Dodge car for the race to resume.
NASCAR officials stopped drivers after a crash and Keselowski, who carries his mobile in his race car, began tweeting live from the race and posting pictures of the accident through his windscreen.
While he was waiting for the race to resume he even answered live questions from his followers.
Keselowski added more than 100,000 followers during his live race tweeting sessions – tripling his followers from around 65,000 before the race to nearly 200,000 as it resumed (a period of less than two hours).
His followers have now broken well through the 200,000 mark and his actions have garnered huge cyber buzz, major PR coverage and impressive levels of earned media for himself, his team and his sponsor.
Asked by one Twitter fan whether other drivers were tweeting too, Keselowski replied ‘no’, ‘they all think I’m crazy”. He answered other questions in-race too, including how low his phone’s battery was running (28%).
‘Time to get back racing, thank you for following!,” Keselowski wrote as the race resumed. He then, some might say inevitably, got caught in a late race crash and tweeted again about a minute after the accident. ‘Nothing we could do there,” he posted. “Never saw the wreck till we were windshield deep.’
In early January Miller Lite agreed a multiyear contract extension with Penske Racing and Keselowski’s No. 2 car – which looks a smart move considering the interest he has gathered at this stage of the season.
Of course, back then Miller’s decision was based more on its team relationship and Keselowski’s three Sprint Cup Series wins in 2011 and fifth place points finish than on his Twitter prowess.
Miller has a relationship with Penske Racing that goes back more than 20 years.
This is something of a first, live in-race Tweeting. And the rapid growth of his following shows just how reactive and live Twitter is as a platform.
Penske Racing’s sponsorship programme is interesting – not least because the team has support from mobile brand Verizon but carries none of its logos because of rival Sprint’s exclusive mobile telecoms rights within the race series that it owns the title sponsorship of.
Previously this had led to the team carrying rotating sponsors and paint schemes every week.