NASCAR and Twitter recently announced a unique digital partnership created to enhance the live event experience during each NASCAR race weekend and continue to...

NASCAR and Twitter recently announced a unique digital partnership created to enhance the live event experience during each NASCAR race weekend and continue to encourage fan interaction with the sport.

Last weekend’s race at Pocono Raceway was a test run of the capabilities of Twitter.com/#NASCAR. In preparation for the launch of the initiative, the track renamed Sunday’s race the Pocono 400 Presented by #NASCAR becoming the first race with a hashtag in its name. The race weekend also consisted of several Twitter-based initiatives such as a “Tweet Your Seat” contest where one fan was chosen to be the honorary starter and wave the green flag at the start of the race.

Twitter.com/#NASCAR is a page where fans can go for a behind-the-scenes look into each race weekend and view the latest content from drivers, race teams, media members, tracks and fans using #NASCAR in their tweets. Looking to establish itself as a major social media business rather than just a micro-blogger, Twitter is hoping to expand the use of hashtags and their respective pages as a place where consumers can go to find supplemental content about products, according to Reuters.

“We are pleased to be able to partner with Twitter and bring a great cutting-edge digital experience to our fans,” said Marc Jenkins, NASCAR vice president of digital media in a June 7 press release on NASCAR.com announcing the partnership. “This is a great extension of our strategy of innovation in the digital space to enhance the fan experience with our sport. Reflective of the strength of NASCAR’s fan base and the sport’s cutting-edge use of social media and Twitter in particular, the sanctioning-body is pleased that Twitter partnered with NASCAR to launch this product.”

According to a press release from Pocono Raceway, NASCAR will become the first professional sports organization to form a partnership with Twitter. Omid Ashtar, head of sports and entertainment at Twitter, said last month at a press conference that NASCAR’s dozens of drivers as opposed to the normal two team format in most professional sports, will help Twitter to experiment with how to curate tweets and explore a more editorial role.

Not only will tracks and sponsors have a role in the partnership, but NASCAR’s broadcast television partners will also engage with fans using Twitter, according to CBSSports.com. As part of their coverage this summer, TNT will display the most relevant tweets alongside their Sprint Cup Series coverage allowing fans to not only watch the race, but also stay connected with up-to-date content coming directly from the track via the #NASCAR Twitter page.

According to Reuters, Twitter also aired its first TV ads during Sunday’s race at Pocono to introduce the #NASCAR hashtag. One commercial showed the view from the helmet cam of a pit technician, just one example of the new behind-the-scenes footage that fans will be able to catch by visiting the Twitter page.

Although the #NASCAR page will now make it easier than ever for fans to connect with their favorite sport, NASCAR is already well aware of the impact of using the social media site to engage fans. In a somewhat groundbreaking moment from the very eventful season-opener Daytona 500, driver Brad Keselowski tweeted comments and photos from inside his car during a delay becoming the first driver to engage with fans while on the track. His tweets helped the driver gain 100,000 followers in just a couple of hours, showing the power of social media.

According to Mashable Entertainment, Ashtar, Twitter’s head of sports and entertainment and a key player in the NASCAR Twitter initiative, with Twitter looking to expand in to new markets, the partnership is a no brainer for the micro-blogger because NASCAR fans are already very active on Twitter and NASCAR encourages their drivers to use social media to reach out to fans. NASCAR consumer research shows that the sport’s fans have learned to adopt new technology at a faster rate than the American population as a whole, according to Fast Company.

According to Fast Company, the #NASCAR page is designed to be used as a companion during a race and according to Ashtari, will utilize a streamlined design that will be easy to navigate even for users who are unfamiliar with the platform.

The promotion of the new #NASCAR hashtag will continue this weekend at Michigan International Speedway (MIS) with Twitter-based initiatives similar to those seen at Pocono Raceway. In a recent email to TicketNews, senior director of communications for MIS Sammie Lukaskiewicz explained that promotions via Twitter will include a #TweetYourSeat contest and a Twitter Hunt where fans can share photos of themselves from around the property.

As far as whether the Twitter initiative will have any impact on ticket sales, Lukaskiewicz told TicketNews, “I don’t think it has an immediate effect on ticket sales, but I do think it helps raise awareness of our brand and the engagement factor of our fans, which could affect future ticket sales.”