#NFB – The Fans Ultimate Reward

Michelle Hoskin, November 19th, 2014 michelle@racegear.com

Well, it’s officially the end of the 2014 NASCAR season. During our hiatus from racing, the drivers will get a well deserved rest, their families will get back their husbands/dads/sons/daughter etc., and WE will all attempt to drown our sorrows for the next 90+ days.

Kevin Harvick of SHR is our reigning champion, we all survived the new Chase format, and I have had numerous requests to address the topic of why NASCAR drivers/family members/Media/Orange Cone & other celebrity status types etc., never follow back their fans on Twitter?

Ford EcoBoost 400

Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart, Victory Lane – Miami Homestead, November 16th, 2014

Dale Earnhardt Jr – 809K/260, Denny Hamlin – 367K/343, Tony Stewart – 308K/188, Jeff Gordon – 626K/150, Brad Keselowski – 534K/106, Jeff Gluck – 86.4K/275, Jenna Fryer – 92.3K/998, Kyle Larson – 104K/420, Ryan Newman – 265K/312, Bob Pokrass – 81.4K/9,623, Kenny Wallace – 224K/913, Casey Mears – 70K/311, The Orange Cone – 61.4K/2,300.  Numbers Numbers Numbers (I’ve always hated math). What’s with the numbers? In this scenario, the first set of numbers signifies the amount of followers that each person has on Twitter. The second set of numbers is the amount of people that they follow on Twitter.

The questions that were posed to me included: Why can’t I get a certain someone to follow me back on Twitter? Why won’t so-and-so at acknowledge my question? Why will he answer some questions but never mine? Why won’t THEY follow any fans? WHY WHY WHY? With the amount of fans following the drivers/media/high fan-based Tweeters/etc., the average Joe doesn’t stand a chance of being followed back by a ‘celebrity’ – or do they? I posed the question on various Facebook ‘racing’ fan pages and groups, and received an overwhelming response, the majority being fully aware of why they won’t/don’t get a follow back on Twitter – with a select few adamant on eventually getting a follow back. Some of the responses I received included:

“If I added one fan, I would have to add all fans.” – (Wishing to remain anonymous, NASCAR NSCS Driver)

“What the fans don’t get is, it’s impossible to follow everyone…after xxxx amount of time away, they don’t want their feed jammed…fans don’t realize how lucky they are that drivers and athletes and celebrities are still on Twitter at all. Once they see how venomous it is, how people send hate tweets, it turns them off…I do think drivers should interact with their fans once a weekend doing a Q&A or something like ticket giveaways and contests etc., but they can’t possibly follow all their fans and they’ll NEVER follow someone begging…” – (Wishing to remain anonymous, Media party)

“We try to answer as many questions as humanly possible, and do hold Q&A’s on our end, but I’m just not going to please everyone.” – (Wishing to remain anonymous, NASCAR, NSCS & NNS Driver)

“I always get readers asking why I won’t follow them, but to me it’s an easy answer: I can’t. Since I use my Twitter feed for work, I’m looking for news items or interesting driver/crew/PR tweets that would help with stories. If I follow too many people, it makes it harder for me to spot what I need for my job. For example: I used to follow about 500 people, but I noticed my feed would move so fast that I’d miss something if I stepped away for 20 minutes. Now I typically try to keep the number of people I follow from about 250-275, although it fluctuates (sometimes not of my own doing, since my Twitter account often unfollows people for no reason).” – @Jeff_Gluck, USA Today

“I wish they would at least acknowledge sometime. I do have one wife of a crew answer my tweets and Kim and Kenny Wallace do, but a lot don’t.” – Sheila Jewett

“Some have employees that monitor their Social Media account…on the same token, take Kenny Wallace. He’s on Twitter all the time and interacts with fans on a regular basis…” – Aaron Seitsinger

“Oh my goodness! There aren’t enough hours in a day for them to respond to everyone!” – Ruthann Prange Souders


“Followback is something that is nice, but for anyone that has a large following it’s just impossible to do…Many “celebs” don’t run their own twitter accounts…any they get thousands of mentions a day. Hard to respond to all…” (@TheOrangeCone)

“Most do, however, do Q&A’s and giveaways just to at least give back to their fans which is awesome.” – Jody Griffin (@bullpenjody)

“I think it is their choice whether to add fans to their Twitter accounts or not.” – Sue Krehel Garfinkle (@suegarfinkle)

“One very important thing that separates racers…not just NASCAR, but Indycar, F1, Sprint, etc., from other athletes or celebs is that they already risk their lives to entertain us.” – Sandy Shelton (@GACat)

“No. there’s no need. Fans are Fans. Not insiders. Not employees. Not media…Drivers and those around them, no longer have any privacy, unless they erect those boundaries themselves.” – Dictionary Prankster

“I’m sure Tony Stewart could care less that me and the girls are out to dinner so I don’t expect him to follow me…” – Sandi Loftis

“NASCAR drivers are not your average people, with media and sponsorship obligations they are very busy…still we cherish these people and support them all the way…all other pro sports can’t touch NASCAR.” – Dion Davila

“I think it’s just a joy to be able to follow them and be able to make comments on some of their tweets. Especially the ones that share photo’s of their kids or pets. They don’t have to do that. To me its a way they try to keep their fans involved with their lives.” (@Queenofliquor)

“Probably the same reason why I hate following people. Too much irrelevant crap in the news feed…even if they do not follow, they could at least  acknowledge the little guy, not just the famous people.” – Bryan Howland


This is only a very small portion of the comments received from people that fully understand the magnitude of the amount of followers versus follow-backs. OK. With that being said, where are all the remarks/comments from all the various people/fans/etc. that emailed/messaged me the past few weeks airing their grievances? Only one of them replied back to my requests. I could become irate and stomp my feet and beg them to reply back to me, but then, I would be doing the same thing that they are doing to their “idols” … but I won’t do that. Why, because I respect their privacy. I did however, receive one such response:

“I personally think that it is rude. We support them throughout the year, we stand behind them through the whole season as well. They could at least acknowledge that we are there. What is the harm in them saying Hi. They can stop answering anyone or any questions when they want to. But at least acknowledge the fans.” (@kim_zofsak)

*I do have to beg to differ a bet in response to this. I myself, too, am only a fan, and have received responses back from various drivers/media/celebrities along my short lived time on Twitter (joined in 2012). Did I expect it? No. Did I appreciate their responses? Definitely.

There are actually quite a few drivers/media/athletes/celebrities etc. that do respond/interact with their fans. Some will do an impromptu Q&A session and/or set-up a specific time frame when they will answer questions on a certain topic. For example, October 31st @Dalejr did at least an hour of answering questions from fans/followers. Almost daily @kenny_wallace will reply back to various followers’ questions and often posts videos. @keselowski will often respond to his followers, albeit some responses are ‘abrupt’ and in retaliation to snide remarks made, he will respond. Another frequent ‘responder’ is @mw55 who often interacts with his followers on at least a weekly basis…especially during his DWTS stint…☺

A very miniscule sample of interaction between the ‘celebs’ and followers…

*Jack Shell ‏@JackShellWYCD · Nov 10 @Fluent_In_14 If you misbehave, I just might.  😉

*Michael Waltrip ‏@mw55 · Nov 4 Talking to @EmmaSlaterDance … @Fluent_In_14: @mw55 What was your best memory from @DancingABC ? Besides ALL of our non-stop fan support…

*Dale Earnhardt Jr.@DaleJr · Oct 31 “@DustinGandy: @DaleJr I read that you have no tats, but got branded. True or false?” True. Branded with a steak iron. Blame @JimBeam

*Kenny Wallace@Kenny_Wallace · Nov 16 I appreciate you fans, Ive been called. Asshole-idiot-moron-loser. But in the end it made me stronger and thick skin. HAPPY HOLIDAYS

*Tony Stewart@TonyStewart  ·  Nov 4 Trust me, people can say what they want to, it just makes them look bad. Let’s keep the hammer down! Let it roll off

*Brad Keselowski@keselowski  · 10 hrs10 hours ago Still?!?! @Nascar2255: @keselowski y did u wreck jeff Gordon on purpose?? U cut his tire on purpose and should have been fined”

We all enjoy being acknowledged when we ‘speak’ to someone – it’s the natural socially acceptable human relationship response. It generally is the correct thing to do when asked a question by someone. I agree. But, when considering that the person we are directing the question/comment to is receiving thousands of questions/comments daily, from total strangers at that, should we expect them to? No. We are not in a relationship with them. We are not ‘friends’ with them. We watch them from a distance, typically from the television and/or a radio. So…thank you, if I already haven’t, Jr., Kenny, Casey, Jeff, Cone, Mikey, and others, for your responses/comments/’favorites’ over the past few months – they were appreciated and yes, valued!

Casey Mears@CJMearsGang  ·  Oct 19 Thanks for all your questions. Going to hang with these kids for a bit.0 replies3 retweets25 favorites