Knoxville Nationals Social Media Report Card

Knoxville Nationals Social Media Report Card

Donny Schatz was the big winner at the Knoxville Nationals last week, banking the $150,000 check that over the nearly 100 teams gunning for the coveted A-Main win. But who was the big winner on social media, specifically on Twitter? Since Schatz doesn’t participate in the Twitter conversation, we know it wasn’t the #15 team.

Looking at the pre- and post-race data from last week’s Knoxville Nationals Driver Twitter list, I’ve highlighted a few of the racing social media standouts below.

Photo from Shane Stewart's Twitter Feed

Number of New Followers:
Kyle Larson (+372) and Shane Stewart (+256)
Justin Henderson (+105)

Although Larson and Stewart are the two standouts above, Brad Sweet actually gained the most followers with 429 new Twitter fans. But, I don’t classify that as a standout performance as Sweet’s many new followers only made up 2.7% of his followers versus Larson’s gain of 5.8% or Stewart’s gain of 8.9%. He also only tweeted twice throughout the entire Nationals week, while Larson was active 59 times and Stewart put out 75 tweets. Sweet’s gains were based solely on his name, and not his social media performance.

Larson and Stewart supplemented their fantastic on-track performances with great information online. Larson had a stream of commentary on the event and other drivers’ performances, autograph session announcements, and a photo. Stewart did the same, tweeting responses to fans and other drivers, Larson included, and more photos.

Henderson was a surprise gainer last week as a Knoxville, gaining 105 new followers or 13.8% of his Twitter fan base. Henderson did so with a combination of on-track performance, winning Friday night’s A-Main, and providing racing updates.

Most Effective Tweeting:
Joey Saldana and Brian Brown
Tim Shaffer

Photo from Kyle Larson's Twitter Account

To be considered the most effective, Saldana and Brown gained more than 10 followers per tweet and inspired interactions with and retweets by their followers. Saldana was the big winner, generating more than 19 new followers per tweet, which included pictures and responses to fan and media tweets. Brown gained 12 new followers per tweet by interacting with media and commenting on his results.

Shaffer was surprisingly effective, gaining more than 6 new followers per tweet, mostly because of his prior absence on Twitter – for the first time since he joined the social media jungle, his team provided consistent updates for fans. The account doesn’t interact with anyone – literally, it follows 0 people – but hopefully that’s what’s up next for the more than 1,400 followers he’s already gained.


Sure, it’s not surprising that those who performed well on the track were rewarded with followers on Twitter, with Brown, Larson, and Henderson directly feeling the effects of a good finish. Schatz is leaving opportunities on the table by removing himself from the conversation, giving up the potential to reach fans for his team and his sponsors – don’t make the same mistake.

Overall, it’s providing content that fans and media enjoyed and found valuable – like Larson, Saldana and Stewart did – and really interacting with your followers that sets you apart in racing social media.

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About the author

Kristin Swartzlander Kristin Swartzlander is passionate about applying business sense to racing 'nonsense' in hopes of growing the sport of dirt track racing. She is a business strategist who works with entrepreneurs and small businesses to help them learn how to use public relations, marketing and social media to achieve their goals. Learn more about social media, marketing and racing sponsorship on the DirtyMouth blog.